This season, the impact of Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United has sparked a lot of discussions, particularly on whether his presence has been disruptive to the rest of the club.
There has been talking of cliques and discord in the locker room, and the player has gone on record to criticize younger players.
On Wednesday night, when he was replaced against Brantford, he threw a tantrum that did nothing to quell the ruckus.
However, insiders tell The Athletic that the 36-year-old is not an issue at Old Trafford, at least not among the coaching staff.
‘Recently, one coach said that Ronaldo is a “class act,” arguing that the player is upholding his half of the contract. The insider continued, “It’s the others who aren’t.”
However, according to the site, there may be a rift in his connection with some of his colleagues.
‘Several of United’s younger players have told The Athletic that Ronaldo may be tough to approach, with insiders claiming that [Edinson] Cavani, even in bad English, is a more uniting presence.’
Inside sources have also corroborated the establishment of changing room cliques, with Cristiano serving as the nucleus of a Portuguese enclave within the club, according to the article.
‘On a personal level, Ronaldo has naturally integrated with Portugal teammates Diogo Dalot and Fernando Fernandes, despite reports that United’s dressing room has been divided by cliques.’
Fred and Alex Telles, native Portuguese speakers from Brazilians, are not included in the article as members of the clique.
The story also indicates that although some members of the team were offended by Ronaldo’s comments, in which he criticized younger players for a lack of work ethic and readiness to listen to advice, others thought he was right on in his critique.
‘Ronaldo’s statements were observed in the United locker room and did not go down well with everyone, but The Athletic has gathered that at least one high-profile senior player was quite supportive of the views expressed by Ronaldo,’ according to the article.
‘This player has tried to be nurturing with United’s younger players in the past, but has concluded that Ronaldo’s harsh love is required.’
The lengthy piece goes on to examine Ronaldo’s on-field impact before concluding that a reunion with United may not be the greatest match. The idea is that he should be seen as a “cherry on top” sort of player, more suited to a squad that is already strong and successful and simply needs to be taken to the next level.
‘Some at United feel Ronaldo has to recognize that he, too, is aging and that he needs to adjust his playing standards accordingly,’ the article says.
‘For example, in a recent 11-v-11 training session, Ronaldo struggled at center-forward, so Rangnick moved him to the left flank. Ronaldo, who seemed to be offended, redoubled his efforts and dominated the session.’
Of course, Ronaldo is no longer as successful at 36 as he was at 26. But it’s that stubborn, arrogant, and driven mentality that’s helped him become one of the best players of all time.
Even though the Premier League is already out of reach, his attitude and star quality might lead United to triumph in the Champions League this season, despite whatever troubles he may (or may not) have brought to the club.
In 2008 final in Moscow, Ronaldo was part of United’s victorious team. He was named the Fans’ Man of the Match after scoring United’s goal. What fan can’t see the’siuuuu’ celebration taking place on May 28th, with 2022 final also taking place in the Russian capital?