Ronaldo’s departure from Man United is good for everyone
That’s all folks. It is over. Cristiano Ronaldo has left Manchester United for the second time in his career. But, unlike the first time, this will not be for a record-breaking transfer fee. Nor does it come with the goodwill of the club, fans and teammates.
Instead, one of the greatest players of all time is quietly shuffling out the back door mid-season this time around. Everyone involved is eager to move forward as soon as possible.
How This Came To Be is a depressing tale of ego, cops and a desperate TV presenter. As ugly as the ending is, the inconvenient truth is that his departure is actually good news for all parties.
Not the Ronaldo of old
The Ronaldo who arrived at Old Trafford in the summer of 2001 was not the same creature who left all those years ago. Yes, he has more goals, more records and more Instagram followers. Still, there’s no denying that this is post-peak Ronaldo. The desire was still there, the self-confidence was certainly still there. But the blazing pace, sharp running, and groundbreaking quality succumbed to time.
Of course there were times when he shone for a moment. Single-handedly, Ronaldo rolled back the years and dragged Manchester United out of the depths. A hat-trick against Tottenham Hotspur and numerous last gasp Champions League winners are just examples. The club deserved no results, but Ronaldo got them there.
That’s what big players do, it stays in their DNA, even during their decline. The problem was that the decline was irreversible and increasingly noticeable. Juventus saw it too.
There was a sense of a combination that never quite felt like the right fit. Like a middle-aged man trying to recapture his youth by squeezing into the leather jacket of his teens. Those two were no longer compatible.
Ronaldo’s departure from Man United benefits player and club
United were a team in transition and eager to move to something more modern. Initially, Ronaldo played under Ole Gunnar Solskjær. The former United striker was a non-threatening manager. He certainly wasn’t strong enough to take on a player of Ronaldo’s power.
When he left and new manager Erik ten Hag eventually arrived, his demanding and physically demanding style of play was much more suited to a younger, more energetic model. The writing hung on the wall.
Things might have gone more smoothly if there had been a solid structure at United. Or at least something that looks like a plan. One of the comments that made sense in Ronaldo’s interview with Piers Morgan was his statement that United are a club in stagnation. There has been no change, no urgency to develop and no one in charge with a good idea. The irony, of course, is that if it had been, no sensible person would have agreed to bring back an aging Ronaldo who is no longer suited to this style and well past his best.
As sad as it is, that’s the truth. Ronaldo no longer suits United and United no longer suits Ronaldo. He wants – must – be the main man at every club. Playing a supporting role and spending more time on the couch doesn’t help his GOAT image. And an angry superstar making half a million a week while not playing doesn’t do United much good either.
However, the decision has been made. Ronaldo, Man United and the fans have to accept that this exit, this separation from titans, is the best for everyone.
Where Ronaldo ends up next is a decision for another day but. Judging by the unwillingness of superclubs to sign him, his desire to play in the Champions League again could be over once and for all.
PHOTO: IMAGO / PanoramiC
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