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Man Utd news: Solskjaer reveals how Cristiano Ronaldo’s return destroyed Red Devils

Cristiano Ronaldo, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Man Utd, 2023/24

Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United was the wrong decision for the player and the club, former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted in a frank interview.

Solskjaer was at the wheel of the Old Trafford club when Ronaldo, who now plays with Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League, returned to Old Trafford in the summer of 2021 and admits that it was his call to bring the multiple Ballon d’Or winner back after 12 years away at Real Madrid and Juventus.

The striker rejoined for €17 million after Man Utd had won two of their first three matches of the season and marked his second debut with a double against Newcastle in early September that seemed to herald the beginning of an exciting new era.

Instead, the early season promise of the Old Trafford team was never realised as they finished sixth in the standings, and though Ronaldo finished with an impressive 18 Premier League goals, Solskjaer has admitted that his contribution was to the detriment of the team.

The Norwegian explained the situation on The Overlap.

Ronaldo in his second stint at Man Utd
© IMAGO – Ronaldo in his second stint at Man Utd
Cristiano Ronaldo and Alejandro Garnacho
© IMAGO – Cristiano Ronaldo and Alejandro Garnacho

Ronaldo’s return a mistake: every word Ole said on CR7

“I was excited, so I said yes. Obviously we know Cristiano, he’s quality. I know he’s 37 but we’ll have to manage because he’s the best goal scorer in the world. It was my decision. It didn’t work out for me, it didn’t work out for Cristiano, but it was the right decision at the time,” the former Man Utd boss said.

“We’d played four or five games and we’d started really well.

“We started off, how are we going to press, how are we going to change the little tweaks, because Cristiano is different to Martial who was up front or if you’re going to play Mason Greenwoord or Marcus Rashford up front. So we had to change a little bit obviously. Cavani was the one that suffered the most when Cristiano came in.

That first game you thought: ‘Yeah, it’s going to work this, it’s Cristiano.’

– Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (The Overlap)

“We played and we got Edinson into a certain way of understanding the way we play. It just, that first game you thought: ‘Yeah, it’s going to work this, it’s Cristiano.’

“And obviously Cristiano’s, when you played with him and speak to him, he wanted to play three out of four games case he realised he’s getting older as well. But when you leave him out once, he’s not happy and all these little videos come out!

“With the ball, with him in the team no problem, but without the ball, we had to change a little bit, and different roles. We were one of the highest pressing teams actually before and we had loads of energy. We’d left Dan James go when Cristiano came in, two different types of player.

“It was the right decision for me, but it didn’t turn out to be the right one.”

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