WHO: Cristiano Ronaldo
TO WHERE: Manchester United
FROM WHERE: Juventus
FOR HOW MUCH: £20m ($27.5m)
GRADE FOR MANCHESTER UNITED: A
GRADE FOR JUVENTUS: C
In 2009, 12 years ago, Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United to join Real Madrid. Since then, fans have been chanting his name and maintained hope that he will, one day, make his grand return. Rumours persisted for the last 5+ years over a potential return, to the point it became boring. Then it was finalized in just 5 hours’ time. As it’s once been said, never give up hope.
Well, for those who never did give up hope on Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford can now rejoice. The man himself is back to where all his success began. In an incredible change of events, the Portuguese winger rejected Manchester City’s advances to rejoin Man United.
It took the efforts of Sir Alex Ferguson, former & current players (Bruno Fernandes in particular), but after a whirlwind of 24 hours, it was done in a rapid pace. Ronaldo is now back. Now let’s wait and watch how his own ‘Last Dance’ unfolds in front of our eyes.
WHO IS HE?
Well, there’s a lot of names Cristiano Ronaldo is called by. How about the GOAT (greatest of all time?). How about a SIX-TIME Champions League winner? How about a 5-TIME Ballon d’Or winner? He’s won trophies everywhere he’s been.
As a matter of fact, Ronaldo has won 29 major trophies in his competitions. He’s won league trophies in (almost) every country he’s played in. In 897 domestic career appearances, CR7 has scored 674 goals. He’s won the European Championship with Portugal and scored 127 goals at the International level – becoming the all-time top goal-scorer in international football.
IS THE PRICE FAIR?
Okay, so at 36, Ronaldo isn’t (obviously) going to play for many more years. But in the market when Romelu Lukaku (whom he outscored in Serie A last season) gets sold for nearly £100m, £20m ($27.5m) for Ronaldo is more than worth it.
His wages are obviously high (reportedly £25m per year) & could cause ego clashes unless Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s able to put a lid on it. However, a two-year contract is just fair for a 36-year-old. Moreover, Ronaldo’s big-game potential, ability to score 20-30+ goals & experience makes it worth it for this United side.
WHAT IMPACT CAN HE MAKE?
It still feels surreal that this deal happen. But now that it has OFFICIALLY been announced, United has one of the best attacks in Europe. Ronaldo, due to his age, likes to play more as a no.9 than a winger these days. But due to his incredible work rate and passion, he can still operate as a better centre-forward than 70%-80% (if not more) of the forwards in Europe.
Ronaldo is likely to play as a centre-forward for the Red Devils. He can, of course, also play as a left-winger because that’s his natural role. His versatility is a big boost for United. The variations are almost scary with his inclusion. The Portuguese star should love playing alongside the exciting attackers the Red Devils currently possess.
In particular, he should build up big chemistry with Bruno Fernandes. Having played for Portugal together, the two are already good buddies. Bruno can finally be reassured that his risky passes find its target in the final third. CR7 might take over penalty & free-kicks duties from him, but Fernandes finally has a ruthless forward to feed in the attack.
Paul Pogba should also love life at United after Ronaldo’s arrival. His creativity mixed with Ronaldo’s clinical nature should terrorize defenders. Jadon Sancho is now assured that his unique crosses & passes won’t be wasted. Moreover, the young Englishman can be more free in attack knowing that a world-class player like Cristiano is there to support him in the attack.
As I mentioned, the variations are now almost limitless for United. Marcus Rashford, who idolized Ronaldo as a kid, can now thrive alongside him. Both Rashford & Mason Greenwood can actually learn so much about becoming more ruthless in front of the goal from CR7. Because of the exciting, fast-paced attacking style United play – Ronaldo should fit in really well.
In the last 12-13 years, Cristiano has averaged 30 goals for almost every season. Not a single United player has achieved that feat since the 2012/13 season. Ronaldo is that clinical, consistent goal-scorer United has lacked for so many years.
Of course, it’s not guaranteed that his goals will help them win the Premier League or the Champions League. But at least it greatly boosts their chances of winning a trophy, which they haven’t done in the last 4 years.
Ronaldo’s signing, of course, has some downsides that must be acknowledged. He is 36 and can’t really play every game in a 50+ season (despite his ridiculous fitness levels). Moreover, his huge wages could now make it difficult for United to get the likes of Pogba or Bruno to sign new deals. But if CR7 is able to help them win something like the PL or UCL in the next year or two, all those ‘problems’ will soon wither away.
Man United (A)
So was signing Ronaldo exactly what United needed this summer? Probably not. They need a quality defensive-midfielder to create an absolutely solid unit. However, you can’t undermine this signing. Signing one of the VERY BEST players in the world for something like £20m in this market is incredible. Cristiano guarantees 20-30+ goals per season & has the mentality, leadership & hunger to motivate his teammates to go the next level & help them get back to winning trophies.
Juventus played a dangerous game with dragging Ronaldo’s contract saga and now have to sell him for 1/4th of what they signed him for. Moreover, they’re letting go of their best goal-scorer & their biggest chance of tasting Champions League glory. In their POV, this just feels like a very underwhelming deal.