Over the years, whenever Cristiano Ronaldo says it is time for him to leave a club, he hardly looks back as was evident in his exit from Real Madrid in 2018 and his exit from Juventus in 2021.
The same scenario is currently playing out at Manchester United, a club that brought him to the limelight in 2003 when he was just a youngster with a series of untapped potential.
Recall that in 2003, the then coach of Manchester United, Alex Ferguson decided to sign relatively unknown Cristiano Ronaldo from a Portuguese club, Sporting Lisbon. He spent six of his illustrious career at Old Trafford under the tutelage of the great sir Ferguson before he left for Real Madrid in 2009.
Before he left for Real Madrid, he had already won virtually everything in club football including a UEFA Champions League title and even a Ballon d’Or, the biggest individual award in world football. Based on this, it is safe to say that Manchester United gave Ronaldo the platform to become one of the greatest footballers of all time.
After spending 9 fruitful years at Real Madrid and three productive years at Juventus, he decided to seek a new challenge.
Then, Manchester City, United’s local rival wanted to sign Cristiano Ronaldo, but Sir Alex Ferguson and other United legends intervened and ensured that the 37-year-old Portuguese football icon chose Man United over Man City on August 31, 2021.
Manchester United paid just €15 million to acquire the services of the Portugal international from Juventus in what was seen as the homecoming of a player that would return the Red Devils to the top of English club football.
Unfortunately, Ronaldo’s arrival made things worst for Manchester United as they could not win any title in the 2021-2022 season. To make things worst, United which finished second a season before Ronaldo came, finished 6th last season.
Based on this, Manchester United won’t play in the UEFA Champions League next season, and all the players are mandated to accept a 25 percent pay cut for failing to qualify the club for the tournament.
Aside from the money Cristiano Ronaldo would lose due to this policy, he would not be a part of the Champions League in the coming 2022-2023 season for the first time in his career, a tournament he has won five times and is currently the tournament’s all-time highest goalscorer.
Unfortunately for Manchester United, Ronaldo who finished last season as United’s highest goalscorer with 24 goals, does not see himself playing in the Europa League next season and is ready to exit the club to a club that will offer him Champions League football.
Recall that Ronaldo did not participate in United’s pre-season tour after submitting his transfer request to the club. The club claimed that Ronaldo was not available for the preseason tour because he had a family issue to attend to.
The Portuguese star returned to the club on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, for the first time since last season. Since then, he has been involved in a series of meetings with the club’s coach Erik ten Hag, Alex Ferguson, and a couple of other stakeholders at the club to convince him to stay.
However, Ronaldo who still has a season left on his contract with United and an option to extend the contract by a year is adamant about leaving the club despite the series of meetings. While Manchester United had insisted that the 37-year-old Portuguese star is not for sale this summer.
No changes yet for Cristiano Ronaldo situation. Manchester United insist he’s not for sale, Cristiano told ten Hag in the last 24h that he still wants to leave. 🚨🔴 #MUFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 27, 2022
His agent Jorge Mendes will try again to find a solution. Waiting strategy on, as last year with Juventus. pic.twitter.com/6CjzS8WSdA
Even though clubs like Chelsea, FC Bayern Munich, Paris Saint Germain, and Atletico Madrid have publicly declined the opportunity of bidding for Ronaldo’s services, the player’s agent Jorge Mendes has continued to push for United to let the player go while he tries to convince as many top clubs as possible to sign the 5-time Ballon d’Or winner.
"Manchester United’s stance remains unchanged" ❌— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) July 28, 2022
Dharmesh Sheth provides the latest on Cristiano Ronaldo 👇 pic.twitter.com/ycz9PGxLHg
Cristiano Ronaldo: coach Erik ten Hag should learn from Jurgen Klopp
Coach Erik ten Hag was having an almost smooth ride at Ajax before he agreed to take up the rough-looking job of managing Manchester United. He has the task of building a team that can win titles and competes with Manchester City and Liverpool within a very short time.
Hence, he is backing on the experience and passion of Cristiano Ronaldo to do so even though the player has said clearly that he is no longer interested in whatever is going on at Old Trafford.
Most people believe that Manchester United will be better without Cristiano Ronaldo while the Dutch tactician and a couple of others believe that the 37-year-old Portuguese forward still has a lot to offer the team. But wouldn’t it be a disaster to force a high influencer player like Ronaldo to stay at Old Trafford against his will?
This is where Erik ten Hag needs to learn how coach Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool handled a situation like this. Recall that in 2018, Philippe Coutinho who was Liverpool’s best player then pressed Jurgen Klopp so hard in his successful attempt to leave the club because he felt the Premier League club didn’t have what it takes to win titles. After a couple of back and forths, Klopp allowed him to join FC Barcelona.
After the move, Coutinho’s career became unstable while Liverpool became a better team and went on to win all the major titles that have eluded the club for years.
The same scenario played out this summer when Sadio Mane decided to leave Liverpool. Despite how important Mane was at Liverpool, Klopp allowed him to join FC Bayern Munich and all parties are happy about the deal.
“Sadio told me and his agent told me that he was looking for a new challenge,” Jurgen Klopp told Viaplay Football.
“And if that happens early enough like it was in this case, and if that happens in the right way and the player and the agent are working, and the new club where they want to go is ready for negotiations, then it should be like it was now.
“Then you say ‘thank you with the biggest respect ever, I couldn’t have more respect for Sadio, what a player he is and I wish him the best.’
Hence, if Erik ten Hag wants to really build a team at Manchester United that will compete as one unit, he needs to support Cristiano Ronaldo to leave Manchester United this summer. This will give him more power over the locker room and minimize drastically any form of bad blood that might undermine the club’s performance in the coming season.
Ten Hag must learn from Klopp very fast before Manchester United commerce their Premier League campaign against Brighton on August 7, 2022, because the weight could be too much on the Dutch tactician if Ronaldo’s saga lingers on amid the rigors of preparing for games.