Cristiano Ronaldo; is perhaps the greatest player to ever lace up a pair of football boots. Whoever you think is the greatest of all time, Ronaldo is in the conversation. It can’t be disputed his name is up there without a doubt in everyone’s top 5 footballers of all time.
To me, part of what made him a great player is his self-belief and work ethic. Ronaldo wants to be the best and millions of people around the world have been aspired by him and are in awe of him. Watching Ronaldo in his prime, I don’t think I can think of a player who made you get up off your seat at Old Trafford quite like he did when he got the ball. From his first touch, he could make an attack happen from anywhere on the pitch. Ronaldo could dribble, leap high in the air and score a header he had no right to score, shoot with his right, with his left foot. Ronaldo could dribble past 2, 3 or 4 players and he would light up the stadium and, it was such great entertainment watching him.
There is an aura about him. You feel his presence from a mile away. I remember his homecoming game against Newcastle last season. Walking around Piccadilly, that day and night, Ronaldo was the king of Manchester and everyone in it was his subjects. The Newcastle game didn’t feel like a match, as Sir Alex said, it was like ‘Caesar returning to Rome’.
As the season went on, United’s on-pitch performance still wasn ‘t at the level fans expected. Ronaldo, however, was doing his job. Scored a few important goals and most fans agree that a much lower finish in the Premier League was a possibility without Ronaldo last season.
This season, United’s on pitch performances and results are better without Ronaldo in the team. Having missed preseason, Ronaldo wasn’t sharp or fit enough to play. Ronaldo, because of who he is, thought he could walk into Ten Hags starting 11. As the weeks went on, Ronaldo wasn’t getting a whole lot of game time. Because of this, his attitude started changing. In the meantime, United were doing relatively well so there was no pressure from the fans or the manager to pick him. Refusing to come on a few weeks back and walking out early before the full time whistle showed a lack of respect to the fans but more importantly to his manager. Ten Hag perhaps is in some way using Ronaldo to lay down his authority but, Ronaldo is asking for that to happen.
Ronaldo’s interview with Piers Morgan, is the final nail in the coffin for Ronaldo at United and sadly, he has perhaps damaged his legacy at the worlds most famous football club. For Ronaldo to come out and say he doesn’t respect his manager because Ten Hag doesn’t show respect to him. Sorry but who does he think he is?! This has single handlely created more power for Ten Hag. Ten Hag’s message is simple, ”I am the boss”. No player at United is going to go against him because they now see, for the first time since Sir Alex, no player at the club has power over their manager. Although performances aren’t perfect, United are clearly on the right track and players are playing for Ten Hag and for that club badge.
I think it’s sad how things have escalated. To see Sky Sports news reporting that United are taking legal advice on how to reply publicly to Ronaldo means his time is up. Ronaldo is no longer the player he was and that’s fine, he is 37 years old and fans don’t expect him to be. The problem is his attitude and perhaps the true side of Ronaldo has come out. I think it’s fair to say he’s played his last game for United and with his attitude shown, I would be surprised if any of the bug clubs will want him. A sacking could be on the cards and United will be patient on how the process is done.
Thank you for some great moments, Cristiano, but, your time is up. No player is bigger than the club.
United above all.