Ole Gunnar Solskjaer offers brutal verdict on Cristiano Ronaldo's failed Man Utd return


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has opened up on his decision to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to Manchester United in 2021. The forward struggled upon his homecoming at Old Trafford though, failing to take the club up to another level despite the high expectations which he arrived with.

Solskjaer became Red Devils boss in 2018 on a caretaker basis, replacing Jose Mourinho at the Theatre of Dreams. The Norwegian impressed during his short stint at the club though, being rewarded with an extended deal.

After a further two campaigns, Solskjaer was offered the chance to sign Ronaldo by the higher powers at United, and he promptly greenlighted the pursuit of the Portugal international. However, many feel that, in hindsight, the transfer took the Red Devils backwards.

Ronaldo failed to slot into United’s high-pressing system and prompted several tactical tweaks which proved detrimental, both on and off the pitch, though Solskjaer does not regret reuniting with the ex-Real Madrid star. He told The Overlap: “It was a very quick decision. We didn’t think Cristiano was available and that he was going to move.

“When it became apparent that he was leaving Juventus, obviously there were other clubs that wanted him – but I was excited. They [United] asked me, ‘Would you want us to try this?’. I said yes – obviously we know Cristiano is quality, and he’s 37, but we have to manage – he’s the best goal scorer in the world. It didn’t work out for me, it didn’t work out for Cristiano, but it was the right decision at the time.”

Ronaldo’s passion did have a negative effect at United though, Solskjaer admitted. Despite being in the twilight of his career, the No. 7 demanded that he would start the majority of his side’s matches and he was left incredibly frustrated when rotated out of the starting XI.

Solskjaer continued: “Cristiano – when you know him and speak to him, he wanted to play three out of four games, he realised he’s getting older as well. But when you leave him out once, he’s not happy!

“With the ball, with him in the team, it was no problem. Without him [pressing], we had to change a little bit the different roles we’d gotten used to. We were one of the highest pressing teams before [Ronaldo joined]. We let Dan James go when Cristiano came in, and they’re two different types of players. It was the right decision to make for me – it didn’t turn out to be the right one.”

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