What’s Happening To Ronaldo?!
Few have left an impact on football as significant and lasting as the boy from Madiera, Cristiano Ronaldo. Dubbed a legend of the game, he holds many records: many of which people think will never break.
Most notably, being the highest goal scorer in the history of the game overall and the UEFA Champions League with 818 and 140 goals, respectively.
Cristiano Ronaldo became the greatest goal scorer of the sport earlier this year in March.
Even at 37, Ronaldo still puts in the numbers many dreams of, being Manchester United’s (Manutd) top scorer last year with 24 goals last season.
While still very impressive, they’re nowhere near Ronaldo’s standards. 24 was his lowest goal tally since the 2006-7 season when he used to play as a left midfielder.
Table Of Content
- What’s Happening To Ronaldo?!
- Ronaldo’s recent form
- Why could Cristiano Ronaldo not join a different club?
- Erik Ten Hag’s Arrival
- Ten Hag’s treatment of Ronaldo
- Is Ronaldo the only one to blame?
- A difficult time for Ronaldo
- Ronaldo’s Interview with Piers Morgan
- Manchester United’s response
- What does the future hold for Ronaldo?
Ronaldo’s recent form
Since his move to Manchester United last summer, his form and career have taken a huge hit. Manchester United was not at the same level as ten years ago, and the striker struggled just like the rest of the club. Manchester United finished 5th, critically missing out on a UCL spot.
Cristiano Ronaldo is often dubbed Mr. Champions League, having won the competition five times, given his brilliant form. Being the highest goal scorer in the competition is a prestigious record he plans to keep.
No one was more upset than Ronaldo when they failed to qualify. This is a fall from fame for the player who had won the competition three times consecutively with Real Madrid in 2016-18.
Why could Cristiano Ronaldo not join a different club?
In light of all that was happening, Ronaldo wanted out! Although having signed a two-year deal set to end in August 2023, the talisman attempted a move to a club that fought for trophies and, if not competed for, at least qualified for the champions league. But this was easier said than done.
Cristiano Ronaldo is 37 years old, and his playing style has changed to adapt to that. From being a flashy winger in the past, he has become a prolific striker and a poacher.
With only a few years left in his career, Ronaldo is not an investment for the future. With clubs looking to their youth academies for talents such as Pedri, Vinicious, and Bellingham, the trend is not in favor of splashing big money for old players like him.
At the same time, Cristiano Ronaldo also puts a dent in the wage bill, charging 510K GBP per week to Manchester United. There aren’t many top clubs willing to commit to that package or at least those that Ronaldo wanted to attend.
The names of potential destinations included the likes of Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, PSG, and Real Madrid. Unfortunately for Ronaldo, none were willing to take him.
As the summer window passed, Ronaldo was left in a club he no longer wanted to play for while hurting his relationship with the club.
Erik Ten Hag’s Arrival
Tensions reached a breaking point when Cristiano Ronaldo did not join the club’s preseason. At the same time, Erik Ten Hag took over the club as the new manager.
Ten Hag came from Ajax and wanted to implement similar philosophies that took his previous club to the champions league semi-final. Ronaldo’s indifference to the change in management was telling.
Importantly, Cristiano Ronaldo had just lost a twin boy with his girlfriend and was prioritizing family during the summer. Meanwhile, the media questioned Ronaldo and his commitment to the club.
Ronaldo did not release a statement or respond to any of it. He preferred to answer it on the field but forgot his voice box was in someone else’s hands.
Ten Hag’s treatment of Ronaldo
Ronaldo had to fight for minutes early on being named in the substitute list often. Ten Hag found his striker in Rashford. With further new signings, Erikson and Anthony, Cristiano Ronaldo struggled to make an impact.
Ronaldo showed discontent when subbed at halftime in a preseason game against Rayo Vallecano. In response, Ronaldo left the stadium early and went home.
Cristiano Ronaldo announcing his return to the squad for the preseason after missing the first four matches.
During the entire summer transfer saga, Ten Hag, on numerous occasions, showed the desire to keep Ronaldo.
” We are planning for Cristiano Ronaldo for the season, and that’s it. I’m looking forward to working with him,” “I have read (that he wishes to leave), but what I say is Cristiano is not for sale; he is in our plans, and we want success together.”
The following few strings of league games saw Ronaldo feature only coming on from the bench. The lack of starts impacted his goal-scoring tally and decreased his chances of scoring.
Ten Hag surprised everyone with his stern attitude with a player of Ronaldo’s caliber, paying no heed to his stardom status.
Is Ronaldo the only one to blame?
Ronaldo was not the only one adding fire to the flame. In early October, Man U visited Etihad for a 6-3 battering. Cristiano Ronaldo is once again an unused substitute in that match.
In the post-match conference, Ten Hag confessed he didn’t bring on Ronaldo “out of respect for his big career.”
This was a critical interaction because two weeks later, in a match against Tottenham, Ronaldo again walked off the game before the full-time whistle.
In a recent interview, Cristiano Ronaldo claimed:
“You don’t put me on against Manchester City because of respect for my career, and you want to put me on for three minutes against Tottenham? It doesn’t make sense. I think he did it on purpose. I felt provoked not only because of that game but before.”
As a disciplinary measure, Ronaldo was not included in the squad for the next match against Chelsea, a move many saw as brave while others were overreacting.
While his professionalism off the field was commendable, this was undoubtedly not mirrored on the field.
A difficult time for Ronaldo
This entire saga is at Ronaldo’s expense, who was paying it with his career’s final years and his mental well-being having all that pressure and controversy. While Ronaldo has been dubbed as someone who ‘consumes pressure for fun,’ this might have been the final straw.
Cristiano Ronaldo met with Jordan Peterson, a renowned clinical psychologist, at the player’s house. In a later interview, Peterson revealed that Ronaldo invited him after being recommended his videos by a friend.
The two talked about Ronaldo’s future, the struggles he’s facing with the death of his child, and his recent shaky form.
This confirmed that even the most clutch and stone-cold players in the game are humans. It is the first time we’ve seen Cristiano Ronaldo show vulnerability, a step in the right direction.
Ronaldo’s Interview with Piers Morgan
The interview with Piers Morgan
The relationship between Cristiano Ronaldo and the club passed the rubicon when Ronaldo gave this interview that aired on 16th November. Piers Morgan invited Ronaldo to ‘Piers Morgan Uncensored.’
Doing interviews is nothing unusual for star footballers, but what Ronaldo said in this has stirred the footballing world.
Cristiano Ronaldo stated the reason for doing this is “its the time to say something.” He further added: ‘I have no respect for him [Ten Hag] because he doesn’t show respect for me,’. This was, in large part, true.
The substitute list in Manchester United has included Ronaldo’s name eight times this season, the same number at Real Madrid for the previous five seasons in La Liga.
“Some people don’t want me here – not only the coach but the other two or three guys. Not only this year but last year too.’ Honestly, I shouldn’t say that. But listen, I don’t care. People should listen to the truth. Yes, I feel betrayed.”
This also had some truth in it. During the preseason, when Ronaldo’s departure loomed over Manchester United, they tried their best to keep him.
Ten Hag also claimed he wanted him to stay as he was in his plans. This sudden change in the game time and strategy was unprofessional on Ten Hag’s part.
He further claimed that the club had not evolved in the past ten years. He said,” ‘Since Sir Alex Ferguson left, I saw no evolution in the club. The progress was zero.
“Nothing changed. Not only the pool, the jacuzzi, and even the gym. They stopped in time, which surprised me a lot.”
The Glazers, an American private businessman, has been subject to similar criticism from time to time for their poor and unpassionate ownership of the club.
Manchester United’s response
A club with the history and success of manchester untied, it was a direct reproach to their legacy. Making direct claims against the manager and the club executives was no joke, and manchester united responded immediately after the release of the interview.
Although no club football is currently taking place, with the World Cup granting a 3-week international break, Ronaldo might not be returning to Manchester.
The club released a statement claiming to take ‘appropriate steps,’ but many have rumored that there’s alot in store.
Manchester United is preparing a suing trial against Ronaldo and terminating his contract. This would be a decisive move that would part ways between Ronaldo and the club.
Such a move would mean that Ronaldo would receive the 16 Million pounds in wages that he would have had he stayed until the end of his contract in August ’23.
It’s important to note that he also lacks his teammates’ support during this time, given how he has hit back at some youngsters claiming to have no work ethic or mentality.
What does the future hold for Ronaldo?
While all eyes are set on the World Cup 2022 that would kick off on 20th November, Cristiano Ronaldo would eventually have to return to club football. Ronaldo has claimed that he would retire if he does win the World Cup.
Still, it looks unlikely, given the squad strength of competitors such as Brazil, Argentina, and France.
Cristiano Ronaldo has shown the desire to end his career at his boyhood club, Sporting Lisbon. While they attend the Champions League irregularly, they seldom go beyond the group stage. A reunion with Jose Mourinho at Roma would be a perfect destination.
Mourinho has the playstyle that could unleash Cristiano Ronaldo and bring him back to his scoring days. The bottom line is these next few weeks will be both crucial and challenging for Cristiano Ronaldo, a name that has become almost synonymous with hard work and success in football.