Cristiano Ronaldo is destroying his Manchester United legacy and making it even harder for himself to find an escape route from Old Trafford.
Following his recent indiscipline when he stormed into the dressing room as an unused substitute before the end of Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League – with sources telling ESPN he left the stadium before the final whistle – The The 37-year-old risks causing more trouble than he’s worth, both for United and any club still interested in signing him.
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The former Real Madrid and Juventus striker silenced the doubters in his first season at United last year – completing a €15m move from Juve after joining Real from United in 2009 – by playing as The team, which has scored 24 goals in all competitions, has come through its worst season in the Premier League.
Although many critics pointed out that Ronaldo would unbalance Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team, the Portugal international could at least cite his goal tally as evidence he was performing well on the pitch, while many of his team-mates fell far short of their expectations . But all the negativity Ronaldo predicted last season has now surfaced in his second year at Old Trafford.
Since his staff made it clear in June that Ronaldo wanted to leave United for a Champions League team, he has become an unnecessary distraction at the club and has constantly overshadowed the progress of the team under Erik ten Hag since he was appointed manager in the summer. Ronaldo missed the entire pre-season tour of Asia and Australia due to family reasons and then upset Ten Hag by driving away from the stadium in the second half of the pre-season friendly against Rayo Vallecano in July. Ten Hag called Ronaldo’s behavior that day “unacceptable”.
Although Ten Hag has said publicly that he is keen to work with Ronaldo as part of his squad, sources have told ESPN that the former Ajax manager wouldn’t mind the player leaving Old Trafford this summer. Ten Hag is pragmatic about Ronaldo’s qualities and he is happy to have his goalscoring threat in the squad, but is aware that his global size means irritations like leaving the dressing room early on Wednesday become big talking points .
To make matters worse, Ronaldo’s walk-off on Wednesday came just three days after he reacted with contempt for being substituted in Sunday’s 0-0 draw at home to Newcastle United with Marcus Rashford. On that occasion, Ten Hag said he understood a player of Ronaldo’s caliber would be unhappy to be substituted off, but it was just another example of the impact Ronaldo is having at Old Trafford.
The win against Tottenham was United’s best performance under Ten Hag and one of the team’s most exciting performances since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, but you wouldn’t believe it as Ronaldo made sure everything revolved around him and his actions rotates.
At his peak, Ronaldo was used to dominating the limelight for all the right reasons, but he seems unable to accept that he is no longer the center of attention at United. He has started just two Premier League games all season and has made six appearances on the bench. In total, he played 340 minutes in the league and contributed just one goal and one assist.
On the hit in the 2-1 win
Ten Hag has had to pass judgment on Ronaldo and has decided to largely rely on him as a backup. If Ronaldo had been willing to accept his reduced status as he approaches his 38th birthday in February it would be a compromise that could work, but unfortunately for United and Ten Hag he has been unable to adjust to his new one adjust reality.
Ronaldo is still the consummate professional when it comes to his own fitness and longevity, but he’s now reached the stage in his career where he has to accept that he’s just part of a team and no longer the player that makes it drives.
It’s an uncomfortable transition for any great player but Ronaldo’s behavior makes it increasingly difficult for Ten Hag to trust him to contribute to the team. He has become a problem United can do without and a player the top clubs will want to avoid when the January transfer window opens.
And having enjoyed such a remarkable and distinguished career, Ronaldo is now coming to the end of becoming an irritation and distraction, and that will only tarnish his well-kept reputation.
https://www.espn.com/soccer/manchester-united-engman_utd/story/4776475/cristiano-ronaldos-walk-off-is-ruining-man-united-legacy Cristiano Ronaldo’s walk-off is ruining Man United legacy