The former manager of Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has admitted that it was a wrong decision that the club signed Cristiano Ronaldo in 2021.
Recall that when Cristiano Ronaldo was tired of Juventus which he joined from Real Madrid in 2018, he decided to return to the Premier League where he gained world recognition between 2003 and 2009 as a United player.
Reports then claimed that Ronaldo wanted to join Pep Guardiola at Manchester City in the summer of 2021 but Manchester United legends including the club’s iconic coach Sir Alex Ferguson wanted him at Old Trafford instead.
Hence, on 31 August 2021, Ronaldo ended up at United. He enjoyed a perfect second debut in which he scored two goals in United’s 4-1 win over Newcastle United at St. James Park.
That display of the then 35-year-old Portuguese forward heightened the hopes of the club’s faithful that Ronaldo would return the club to the glory days they enjoyed under Ferguson.
It was not up to two months before things started growing sour for the team as they continued to lose games without control. The poor run of games forced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be sacked on November 21, 2021, a day after United lost 4-1 to a lowly-rated Watford, who are now in the second tier of English football.
Solskjaer was replaced by Erik ten Hag who wasn’t able to work with Ronaldo as much as Solskjaer did, hence they had a series of fallout. The fallout forced Ronaldo to blast the Dutch coach and the club’s management for poor handling of the club via an interview with Piers Morgan.
His comments in the interview forced the club to terminate his contract days before the 2022 FIFA World Cup in November and he remained without a club until January 1, 2023, when he signed for Saudi Pro League club Al Nassr.
On the return of Ronaldo to United in 2021, Solskjaer told The Athletic that it “was a decision that was very difficult to turn down and I felt we had to take it, but it turned out wrong.”
He added, “It felt so right when he [Ronaldo] signed and the fans felt that at that Newcastle game when Old Trafford was rocking [after Ronaldo scored twice in a 4-1 win].
“He was still one of the best goalscorers in the world, he was looking strong.”
Players Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to sign at Manchester United
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who played the best of his football career at Manchester United before he returned to the club as a manager, said the club didn’t allow him to sign most of the players he wanted.
The 50-year-old Norwegian tactician said he wanted to sign youngsters with huge potential like Erling Haaland before he joined RB Salzburg in 2019, Declan Rice while at West Ham (now plays for Arsenal after a £100 million deal), Jude Bellingham before he joined Borussia Dortmund (now plays for Real Madrid).
Solskjaer said: “Erling Haaland before he made his Salzburg debut.
“Declan Rice wouldn’t have cost what he did in the summer. We discussed Moises Caicedo, but we felt we needed players ready for there and then.
“We wanted Jude Bellingham badly – he’s a Man United player – but I respect he chose Dortmund. That was probably sensible.”
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