Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential return to Old Trafford has always been a topic of speculation in every transfer window. Ever since he left for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009. Ever since Ronaldo left, Manchester United won domestic titles, their greatest ever Manager (in modern times) retired. The team went into transition and the club underwent 3 first-team manager changes. As for fans, his return to Old Trafford was nothing but speculation like every year, not until it became a reality just 15 hours ago.
Eyebrows raised when Cristiano Ronaldo communicated to the Juventus board and Allegri that he wants to leave. Ever since then he has been realistically looking for options for his next potential destination. It was widely reported that Manchester City was tracking the Portuguese superstar’s movements and was in touch with his agent, Jorge Mendes. It was not until 36 hours ago, speculation came out that Cristiano Ronaldo has chosen Manchester City, as his possible next destination. This news did not go well with the Old Trafford faithful. All Red Devils fans started to turn on him who was utterly disgruntled.
How can one of the club’s greatest ever players even make a move to their local rivals? More importantly, how can the Manchester United board just sit and watch and do nothing to get him back? Surely, he can’t refuse the father figure, the coach who nurtured his skills? These were the questions in the minds of the fans who have literally seen the boy become what he is today.
The Transfer Saga
In the wee hours, it was reported that Manchester United did approach Jorge Mendes, but there was no concrete development. Manchester City were the front runners. It was not until 11:30 am (BST) yesterday, the rumors of Cristiano Ronaldo’s realistic return to Old Trafford started floating around. Football journalists, pundits, fans across the globe were keeping an eye on this transfer. By early afternoon it was confirmed that both Manchester United & Manchester City had approached Juventus with an offer. However, with Manchester City, it was more of a verbal offer and not an agreement. Even Ole Gunnar Solksjaer who usually answers diplomatically about the transfers in his press conferences, was more than assertive whenever he was asked about Ronaldo’s potential return.
Things developed between Manchester United and Juventus and an actual offer was prepared and sent to Jorge Mendes. Manchester City by now had backed out the race and it was the Red Devils who had sealed the return of their boy. Back where he belongs to Old Trafford on a two-year contract whilst he was in Lisbon. Once the deal was sealed. It was widely reported Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Bruno Fernandes, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer & Sir Alex Ferguson all played their part to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to the Theatre of Dreams.
What does he bring to the team?
Having stacked in the attacking options like – Bruno Fernandes, Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, Jadon Sancho, Anthony Martial, and Jesse Lingard, it is going to be a headache for Ole Gunnar Solksjaer to select his best XI. With Anthony Martial’s dip in form and Edinson Cavani getting back to fitness. There is no surprise that Ronaldo would walk in the playing XI once his formalities are complete and are match-ready.
It’s a completely different team to what he played with when he was at the club. Most of his then teammates have retired. While some of them have become Pundits or transitioned into the coaching role. Cristiano Ronaldo is still playing at the highest level challenging himself for all the possible individual as well as team honors. Does the question however remain what does Cristiano Ronaldo bring to this Manchester United team?
The answers which come to mind are goals and lots of goals, winner’s mentality, leadership in the dressing room. Most of the players in that dressing room look up to him as an icon. They have grown up watching him play in that Redshirt. It will be fascinating for the fans to see him link up with Bruno Fernandes, Edinson Cavani, Paul Pogba, Mason Greenwood upfront. His signing has definitely threatened Martial’s place in the team. The coach, the fans, and the board will probably hope and expect that this motivates him to perform better and fight for his place in the playing XI.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s homecoming is definitely an emotional signing for the club, for the team, and for the fans. The fans will genuinely hope that the club now seals a Defensive Midfielder on deadline day. Manchester United can genuinely mount a challenge for the Premier League as well as the Champions League. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, so far has done a good job in building up a very good team, it’s only the trophy that has eluded him. A major trophy would probably silence his critics. With the attacking players at Ole’s disposal, was Cristiano Ronaldo’s signing absolutely necessary? Probably not. However could Manchester United just watch one of their greatest ever players sign for their local rivals? DEFINITELY NOT
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