Cristiano Ronaldo
Image: Wikimedia Commons/name of photographer/AtilaTheHun

Ronaldo: Enough is enough

All good things must come to an end, and in 2009, many believed Cristiano Ronaldo’s glorious time at Manchester United had reached its conclusion.

In 2021, fans were left in disbelief as the Portuguese great returned to Old Trafford to reopen a chapter that many had thought had long since finished, all in the hopes of reigniting what had become a stale United side since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013.

Reignite them he did – at least in some capacity – as he bagged 24 goals last season to end the year as the club’s top scorer, scooping up the club’s Player of the Year award. However, he could only do so much, as the team still staggered to a sixth-place finish, falling a remarkable distance short of Chelsea and Champions League football.

And so, for the first time since 2002/03, in which a young Ronaldo lined out for Sporting CP against Partizan in the UEFA Cup, the 37-year-old would be playing in Europe’s secondary competition.

By Ronaldo’s standards back then, a poor season – but nothing that could have prepared him for the “disrespect” he has received this campaign.

Speaking to Piers Morgan in what has been described as the most explosive interview of his career, Ronaldo detailed how disappointed he was in his treatment at Manchester United since his fairytale return 14 months ago and revealed the stagnation that has occurred since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club.

Stating that he feels “betrayed”, Ronaldo believes that he is being forced out by individuals in the upper reaches of the club hierarchy, including his current and third manager since his return to the Red Devils, Erik ten Hag.

“I felt like some people don’t want me here, not only this year but last year too. I don’t have respect for [ten Hag] because he doesn’t show respect for me. If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never going to have respect for you.”

He will be hoping to put together a strong showing at this winter’s World Cup to put himself in the shop window

His comments about ten Hag come after the striker was dropped from the United first team, having been made to spend much of the season on the bench or not in the matchday squad at all. While it is plain to see that Ronaldo’s performances on the pitch have fallen significantly from the standards that he has set time and time again over his glittering career, it seems there are multiple factors at play off the field that are negatively affecting his time on it.

Now, following the star’s discussion with the controversial former Good Morning Britain presenter, Manchester United have announced that Ronaldo’s contract has been terminated by “mutual agreement”.

And so, ahead of Portugal’s first game at the Qatar World Cup, their captain is officially without a club. It is a sorry state of affairs, with the club-player relationship crumbling even more than it did following his first departure over 13 years ago.

Ronaldo will surely be determined to find an alternative route into the Champions League before the end of the season. He believes he is of sufficient quality to be of use to a club competing at the highest level – something United simply aren’t doing at the minute – but it remains to be seen whether he is viewed in the same way by Europe’s elite.

The next step in CR7’s illustrious career is unclear, but he will be hoping to put together a strong showing at this winter’s World Cup to put himself in the shop window. It is a shame to see Ronaldo’s tale at Manchester United end in such a poisonous manner but, with any luck, this bitter conclusion could lead to a sweet beginning for both player and club, with both certainly desperate to start a new chapter.


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