The now unbearable relationship between Manchester United and Cristiano Ronaldo ended “by mutual agreement” on Tuesday, with the Red Devils’ owners, the Glazer family, saying they are now ready to sell the club they can’t sell. pinnacle of English football.
The double announcement was the culmination of weeks of unrest, both on the ground, where ties between the club and its 37-year-old Portuguese superstar reached a point of no return, and behind the scenes, when the unpopularity of Glazer, who has controlled Manchester United since 2005, the number of failures in sports is growing.
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Even the return of Ronaldo in the summer of 2021 to the club where he entered the world stage in 2003-2009 could not break the inability of Manchester United to catch up with clubs like Manchester City, Liverpool or Chelsea. The Red Devils’ last Premier League title dates back to 2013, when Alex Ferguson ended his final season. Since the departure of the legendary Old Trafford general manager, there have been five different managers in nine years.
“The Board of Directors will consider all strategic options, including new investment in the club, sale or other transactions involving the company,” the club said in a statement.
Hours earlier, with the World Cup in full swing, the simmering divorce between Manchester United and Ronaldo was over. “Cristiano Ronaldo will leave Manchester United by mutual consent with immediate effect,” the club soberly wrote in a statement, thanking him for his “huge contribution during his two spells at Old Trafford.”
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who will take on Portugal against Ghana in the World Cup on Thursday, said for his part that “it’s time (for him) to look for a new challenge.”
The outcome was almost a foregone conclusion, as last week on TalkTV aired an incendiary interview with the player, in which he settled the score with the club’s bosses: “The Glazers do not care about the club … professional sports. As you know, Manchester Marketing Club,” he said and said he felt “betrayed” by his coach, Eric Ten Hag.
Stayed at the dock this summer
However, Ronaldo, who left his teammates and the stadium before the end of the Premier League match against Tottenham after refusing to enter the game, was far from irreplaceable. In any case, he was no longer in the plans of Ten Hag, appointed this summer to the bench of Manchester and backed up by very good results obtained without the services of “CR7”.
He was still limited to minutes at the end of the match and “minor” meetings such as the Europa League, he scored 183 Champions League matches (and 140 goals) with Manchester, Real Madrid and Juventus in 19 seasons at the highest level. level.
Already this summer, the Portuguese went out of his way to leave the club where he rose to fame during his first tenure between 2003 and 2009.
The death of one of his newborn twins in April also deeply affected the player, who did not resume training at his club and did not participate in the pre-season tour this summer, citing his “family issues”.
At the same time, his agent Jorge Mendes traveled around Europe to offer his services, and if names such as Bayern, Chelsea, Naples or Sporting Portugal in Lisbon, his training club, more or less seriously mentioned, the only specific proposal came from Saudi Arabia.
It also seems hard to imagine that it will be different by the opening of the winter transfer window on January 1st. Ronaldo, now free to do what he wants, says he wants to play after 40, but he shows a level of play that some clubs may still be interested in, but certainly not elite clubs, and especially if he doesn’t put his ego aside to the side. .
Sporting remains a direction that would have an attractive side, “closing the loop” and the name Chelsea is also sometimes timidly popped up, the new American owners may be seduced by its “marketing” aura. The third track will send him to the American MLS, where Inter Miami dreams of inviting him, as well as Lionel Messi.
The latter is unknown if this announcement will affect his World Cup performances. “I’m in fantastic shape,” he assured on Monday, before adding that an episode of his incendiary interview might “shock a player, but not shock (a) team.”