Cristiano Ronaldo is the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) to many football enthusiasts across the world but his recent antics at Manchester United have placed a series of question marks on his legacy. His quest for Champions League football is turning some United fans against him.
Note that the 37-year-old Portuguese football icon hit the limelight on July 1, 2002, when he made his debut for the Portuguese side Sporting CP. Cristiano Ronaldo gained more ground when he joined Manchester United in his first spell on August 12, 2003.
While at Manchester United, Ronaldo won virtually every major title available in both domestic and European club football including the UEFA Champions League and the Premier League titles. He also won his first Ballon d’Or title at Old Trafford before he left for Real Madrid in 2009.
It was at Real Madrid that Cristiano Ronaldo attained the GOAT status after winning four UEFA Champions League, multiple La Liga, and FIFA Club World Cup titles. He also won four additional Ballon d’Or at Real Madrid before he decided to end his 9 years reign at the club.
He left Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018 where he continued to show that he can shine in virtually any league he decides to play in. After three years, he decided to return to Old Trafford in the summer of 2021.
Unfortunately for Cristiano Ronaldo, his second spell at Manchester United has been a big mistake as the club struggled to win games in the 2021-2022 season even though he ended this season as the club’s highest goalscorer.
In the said season, things got so terrible for the Red Devils that they could not finish in the top four. Hence, Manchester United will have to play Europa League football this season which is against Ronaldo’s wish.
In his illustrious football career, Cristiano Ronaldo, a 37-year-old Portuguese football icon, has never played in the Europa League and does not wish to play in the European second-tier league.
Hence, immediately after Manchester United failed to qualify for the Champions League campaign this season, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner asked the Premier League club to sell him this summer with a year left on his contract.
However, Manchester United refused to sell him despite how hard Cristiano Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes have been trying to push for his exit.
Bruno Fernandes tells Eleven Sports: “Cristiano Ronaldo’s future? I may know one thing or another, I won't be the one who will say it”. 🚨🔴🇵🇹 #MUFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 22, 2022
“For now he's a United player, he’s quiet – if he's going to leave or if he won't leave, he will speak soon as he said”. pic.twitter.com/FxuVwInghD
Flipside: Cristiano Ronaldo might be disgraced out of Manchester United
When Cristiano Ronaldo made it known that he intend to leave Manchester United this summer, the five times Ballon d’Or winner thought top European clubs would rush for his signature.
Recall that when he informed Juventus in the summer of 2021 that he wanted to leave, clubs like Paris Saint Germain and Manchester City reportedly attempted to sign him but Ronaldo decided to return to Old Trafford.
Unfortunately for the 37-year-old football icon, since he told Manchester United that he wanted to exit this summer, no club has made an offer for his services. His agent has reportedly made efforts to speak with a couple of top clubs to convince them to sign him all to no avail.
Clubs like Bayern Munich, Chelsea, PSG, and even Borussia Dortmund have all turned down the opportunity to sign Ronaldo. The only club that seems a bit serious about acquiring his services this summer is Atletico Madrid.
As it stands, if nothing happens before September 1, 2022 (closing date of the transfer window), Cristiano Ronaldo would be left with no choice but to stay at Manchester United and play in the Europa League this season.
Recall that due to his failure to participate in Manchester United pre-season training this summer, he started from the bench as Brighton beat United 2-1 on August 7, 2022. After the game, most people criticized United’s coach Erik ten Hag for not starting Ronaldo.
As a reaction to that, Ten Hag decided to start Ronaldo in the Premier League game against Brentford on August 13 which United lost 4-0.
To the dismay of many, the Dutch coach decided to bench Ronaldo in a make-or-mar encounter between Manchester United and Liverpool. In Ronaldo’s absence, Manchester United beat Liverpool 2-1 to grab their first win of the 2022-2023 season.
Ronaldo's cameo yesterday showed why he won't work in this team.— Peace Maker (@agent_modak) August 23, 2022
*Shot from a ridiculous angle
*Bruno tries an impossible pass to find him.
When he's on the pitch, the team always feels the need to pass him the ball and ignore better options. This is not sustainable. pic.twitter.com/l0iyHxfEC2
During the game, coach Erik ten Hag introduced Cristiano Ronaldo into the game in the 86th minute when the scoreline was 2-1 in favor of United. Ronaldo’s introduction into the game was so inconsequential that he only made one short off target.
Hence, when the game ended, the attention was shifted from Ronaldo to Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, the two United players that scored against Liverpool in the game.
Ronaldo's reaction to Sancho's goal against Liverpool. Legend ❤— POOJA!!! (@PoojaMedia) August 23, 2022
The fact that Manchester United performed so well without Ronaldo on August 22 and coach Ten Hag gave him less than five minutes of football in the game could mean that the Red Devils are preparing to do without the Portuguese icon.
Hence, if Cristiano Ronaldo fails to realize that he is not the hot cake he used to be in football and corporate with United’s management, he might be disgraced from the club and probably forced into retirement unceremoniously. So, his status as the GOAT can only be sustained if he embraces the reality at Old Trafford or can secure another club before the end of this summer transfer window where he can shine again for one or two seasons.