Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly ready and is all set to leave Manchester United. His second coming to Old Trafford is an example to show how quickly the tide can turn in football. In the summer of last year, all the buzz was about Ronaldo’s sensational return and how he could make United great again. Many believed him to be the missing link between United and greatness; the final piece to complete the puzzle of “how to win trophies again.” A lot has changed since the summer of 2021. United and Ronaldo have seen four different men lead them out of the dugout, with the latest causing so much drama.
There’s no hiding the relationship between Erik Ten Haag and Cristiano Ronaldo. It has been so strained that any attempt by either to patch it up to the media is equivalent to attempt gluing back pieces of shattered glass together. Most recently, Erik Ten Haag dropped Ronaldo from United’s 1-1 draw against Chelsea on Saturday after the latter refused to come on as a substitute in the 2-0 win versus Spurs last week, another installment in the “ongoing battle” between the duo. At first glance, Ronaldo’s conduct might be labeled unprofessional, but from a broader perspective, Ten Hag seems to be reneging on his words. In the 6-3 derby defeat to rivals Manchester City, he claimed to have not brought on Ronaldo as a way of “showing respect” to his career.
Erik Ten Hag’s “Disrespect”
For some context, the last set of substitutions made by Ten Hag in this defeat was on the 70th-minute mark, with more than 20 minutes left to play. In the game versus Spurs, however, the last set of substitutions Ten Haag made was in the 87th minute, with just under three minutes left to play. The action seems contradictory if he really claims to show respect to Cristiano Ronaldo.
Regardless, there is more than what meets the eye regarding the two. Despite constantly reiterating the importance of Ronaldo to this team and the vision he wishes to implement, the proceedings seem to tell another story. Ten Hag has opted to start Ronaldo in the Europa League, with cameo appearances in the Premier League. In all fairness, the Dutchman’s decisions have paid off. The team is rebuilding positively, leading many to believe this team might be better off without Ronaldo.
Ronaldo’s Search For Game Time
With the world cup soon approaching and his strong intent to participate in the Euro 2024, Ronaldo does not need to communicate the importance of match fitness. Before heading into tournaments of this magnitude, a player’s desire for consistent game time is plausible.
Reports from Old Trafford suggest that United would mutually terminate the €500k+ a week contract, provided Ronaldo can agree terms to join another club.
So far, there have been links to the Major Soccer League (MLS), Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, and even Saudi Arabian clubs.
Unequivocally, at present, Ronaldo and Ten Hag are two characters finding it difficult to co-exist. Ten Hag has set out principles that he wishes for the United team to follow. From an outside perspective, Cristiano Ronaldo looks like his career and reputation at United are being tainted and tarnished. The most obvious of solutions right now would be a departure for either. With United only having appointed Ten Haag recently, the next available flight out of Manchester to a destination he deems fit might just be Ronaldo’s.