Should Cristiano Ronaldo Leave Manchester United?
Since David Ornstein broke the news that Cristiano Ronaldo wanted to leave Manchester United on Saturday – the fanbase has become polarized on the subject. Should Manchester United keep one of their club legends and arguably the greatest player of all time, or should they sell him to expedite Erik Ten Hag’s revolution at Old Trafford?
Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United last summer brought a euphoric feeling back to the club. Following the conclusion of the 2020-21 season under Ole Gunner Solskjaer, where United placed second in the Premier League and runners-up in the Europa League, it was evident the squad was on an upward trajectory. Ronaldo was deemed by many to be the piece of the puzzle that would return silverware to a club that lacked the “it” factor. Possibly even being a player who could bridge the gap between the quality that Manchester City and Liverpool possess. The unfortunate reality has been that United have gotten worse as a team since the Portuguese arrived, resulting in the manager who brought him in getting fired within three months and ending the season with their worse ever points tally in Premier League history.
Manchester United’s woes can’t all be attributed to Ronaldo last season, but Ronaldo’s return has caused United to deviate away from the principles that made them successful under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Wherever Ronaldo plays, the spotlight has to be on him. During his first stint at United, Wayne Rooney took a back seat to let Ronaldo shine. At Real Madrid, Karim Benzema took a back seat to let Ronaldo shine. At Juventus, Paolo Dybala took a back seat to let Ronaldo shine. During last season at Manchester United, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes took a back seat to let Ronaldo shine. Ronaldo performed admirably, but the team suffered as a result.
This summer marks the first transfer window that Erik Ten Hag has at the club, following his managerial appointment on a three-year contract from Ajax in May. The Dutchman is known for playing fast, attractive football with an emphasis on ball retention and counter-pressing – similar in style to one of his mentors, Pep Guardiola, whom Ten Hag worked with during their time at Bayern Munich.
The center forward is the focal point of the squad, a player who needs to be capable of defending from the front and pushing defensive lines to progress the attack. The reality is that while Ronaldo is still a world-class player, at the age of thirty-seven, he isn’t the player to construct a team around during a complete rebuild.
Image from marca.com