When Cristiano Ronaldo’s long-awaited return to Old Trafford was announced Manchester United fans thought their team was finally ready to challenge for the Premier League. Instead, United have arguably declined since his arrival and sit just 7th in the league. Ronaldo has probably been The Red Devils’ best player but he simply cannot carry a team like he used to and would’ve been better joining a team with more recent success. A Manchester United return was great for the narrative but if United continue to struggle the return could prove to be a mistake for Ronaldo.
Manchester United Return A Mistake For Ronaldo
Ronaldo Trying To Achieve The Impossible
Ronaldo joined a Manchester United side that hasn’t won a trophy since 2017 and a Premier League since 2013. For a player that’s always played with serial winners like Wayne Rooney, Sergio Ramos, and Giorgio Chiellini, playing with a squad not filled with trophy winners requires Ronaldo to take a bigger leadership role at United. The players clearly admire Ronaldo but he’s been unable to lead an inexperienced side to success so far.
Making a Manchester United return and returning the Premier League to Old Trafford would give Ronaldo an extra edge in the GOAT debate too. Lionel Messi left his club Barcelona while it was in financial ruin and on the decline while Ronaldo would have rejoined his and took them back to the top of English football. With these owners and management, even Ronaldo can’t get United back to the summit and at Paris Saint Germain, Messi and his team are among the favorites to win the Champions League. We are still only halfway through the season and Chelsea’s turnaround last season will give United hope but winning any trophy this season let alone the Premier League is looking very unlikely.
Change Of Position Makes It Harder For Ronaldo To Influence Games
As he’s got older, Ronaldo has switched from a left-winger to a striker. Now, he plays primarily as a striker and while he scores goals, he doesn’t influence the game in other ways. Once a quality dribbler, Ronaldo now completes less than 1 dribble a game (0.9). Ronaldo’s only scored in 5 league games from 14 this season so that’s 9 games where his impact has been minimal. He’s not a great passer and his finishing has declined to the point where he’s nearly missed more big chances (6) than he’s scored goals (7).
At this point in his career, Ronaldo needed a team of winners to carry the workload for him in games while he scored winner after winner. In his previous stint at United, Rooney, Ji-sung Park, and Carlos Tevez sacrificed themselves so Ronaldo could destroy teams with his skill and finishing. Ronaldo needed a setup like this on his Manchester United return but Bruno Fernandes and United’s attack are simply not providing Ronaldo with enough support.
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