Five-time Ballon d’or winner Cristiano Ronaldo has been hailed the GOAT by many, but is his time at Manchester United in the 2021/2022 season tarnishing his stellar career?
Ronaldo has bagged nine goals in his last eleven games for Manchester United, five of those goals coming from four Champions League appearances, including a stoppage-time winner against Atlanta last month which saw United come back from 2-0 down. When you put it like that, Ronaldo seems to be doing a decent job for a start.
But things are starting to look dim in the Premier League, where Ronaldo went three league games without a goal for his club, having only recently scored against Spurs to break United’s four-game winless streak. There’s no ‘I’ in team, but something’s not sitting right.
Alongside their golden boy Ronaldo, United’s star signings at the start of the season, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho, and their existing players, Paul Pogba, and most expensive central defender of all time Harry Maguire, plus many more top performers, on paper, United boast one of the strongest sides since Alex Ferguson’s departure. So why have they only won five out of the last ten league games? (The same number of wins as 6th place Arsenal and 8th place Spurs).
Obviously, we know Ronaldo isn’t the same 18-year-old he was when he first joined the club nearly two decades ago, but he’s set the bar so high that expecting anything less than a win, with the team that Manchester United have, seems silly.
In the Portuguese star’s last season at Real Madrid, he managed to score 26 goals in 27 La Liga appearances, racking up a total of 311 goals in 292 games. In his last full season at Juventus, he managed to score 29 goals in 33 Serie A appearances, tallying up a total 81 goals in 98 games. It’s still quite early into the current season, but at the rate Manchester United are going, many fear that they might not even end up in the top four.
The question lingers: We all know Ronaldo wanted out of Juventus, but would he have been a better fit at another club?
During the transfer window prior to the start of this season, Manchester City came close to signing their rivals former star forward. Ronaldo’s manager Jorge Mendes approached many of Europe’s big sides, including both Manchester clubs. Manchester City were looking for a forward after their record goal-scorer Sergio Aguero left for Barcelona. They had their eyes on Spurs’ Harry Kane, but Tottenham made it clear that their striker was not for sale.
With no new forward in line, the Ronaldo offer was back on the table, and City were more open to negotiations after seeing that the former United player was keen on the move. However, after reconsideration from Pep about how the move would affect the overall team ethic, City were still not all in.
Manchester United were terrified of the thought of one of their own playing in a blue jersey, and with the help of Sir Alex Ferguson, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Bruno Fernandes, they managed to resign one of their star players.
Hypothetically, in another world, if Pep didn’t have his doubts, or United were too late in putting in their offer, and Ronaldo did sign for Manchester City, would he have been performing better alongside his Portuguese teammates Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva as compared to his current teammates? Is his slow start at United due to clashing personalities, or are we setting our standards way too high?
I guess we’ll never know, but what we do know is, Ronaldo does not want to let his club down, and he’s determined to win. After United’s massive defeat against Liverpool at Old Trafford, Ronaldo took to Instagram to say this:
“Our fans were, once again, amazing in their constant support. They deserve so much better than this, much better, and it’s up to us to deliver. The time is now”.
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