Man Utd fans snap up Ronaldo shirts at Old Trafford
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When Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United back in the summer transfer window, having previously looked set to move to Manchester City, the 36-year-old made it known he was here to win. With nine goals so far, he certainly hasn’t disappointed. But the Red Devils have let him down so far due to their erratic form, meaning his second spell at Old Trafford may not be as glittering as the first.
Ronaldo, until the final hours of the transfer window, looked likely to leave Juventus for Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s team were keen on a deal for the veteran having been priced out of a deal for Harry Kane, who reluctantly accepted he’d have to stay at Tottenham for another 12 months.
But just as City looked like they’d win the race for Ronaldo, United intervened to twist their narrative their way.
Sir Alex Ferguson, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand and Bruno Fernandes all convinced the Portugal international that the red half of the city, rather than the blue, was the right place for him.
And so Ronaldo came home.
After signing Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, from Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid respectively, it was certainly a Hollywood homecoming.
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United rolled out the red carpet for the Portugal skipper, giving him his famous No 7 shirt at the expense of Edinson Cavani.
And things, initially, started well.
Ronaldo scored a brilliant brace as United beat Newcastle 4-1 in September, before notching against Young Boys in the Champions League mere days later.
The former Real Madrid forward also notched in a 2-1 victory over West Ham but, ever since, United have fallen apart.
Alarmingly so, too.
They’re currently on a run of six defeats from their last 12 matches across all competitions, leading to talk of Solskjaer getting the sack in the process.
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And the fixtures aren’t kind in the next few weeks, with tough tests against Villarreal, Chelsea and Arsenal all lying in wait.
United are already out of the Carabao Cup, having exited the tournament at the hands of West Ham and old boss David Moyes in September.
And they’re nine points behind Chelsea in the race for the Premier League title, having amassed just 17 points from 11 matches so far.
Simply put, it isn’t good enough.
But while United have been abysmal, particularly in defeats to Leicester, Liverpool and Chelsea, Ronaldo has produced the goods.
Nine goals from 13 appearances for the club, after 12 years away, is a testament to how good the 36-year-old is.
And it’s a shame that United’s other players are letting them down.
Some have painted Ronaldo to be the problem but, without him, Solskjaer may already be putting Loose Women on during the daytime instead of overseeing affairs at Carrington.
And United haven’t lived up to their end of the deal since the 36-year-old’s blockbuster return.
Ronaldo, as mentioned above, made it clear he was back to win.
“People think I am coming from the heart or blah blah blah but I am coming here to show that I am still capable to smash [it] and to do my best and show that,” Ronaldo said.
“I am here to win. People speak about the age but they should understand – and they know – that I am different than the rest of the people. I show off [that] year by year and this year will be the same. I know 100 per cent that I will do good with the boys, with my team-mates.
“The supporters will be on our side. These supporters are special. I hope they can push the team when the team needs it and we will be here to give everything and try to win important things.
“This is why I am here. I am not here for a vacation. Before was good … but I am here to win again.
“I am capable, me and my team-mates. I am ready to go, I am ready to go. It is a good chance for me, for the supporters, for the club, to get one step ahead. I am ready and I think I will be a huge thing in the next three or four years.”
However, the brutal truth is that United are no closer to winning the league than before.
When Ronaldo was first at the club, he helped them win the lot under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Three Premier League titles on the spin, as well as the 2008 Champions League crown, were won with the forward fully firing.
But no matter his prowess in front of goal, this United side appear unable to achieve the same winning mentality.
Under Ferguson, when they lost matches, the Scot would demand a response. More often than not, he’d get one.
Yet Solskjaer appears unable to do the same with this current crop, who often down tools when the heat is on.
At City, Ronaldo would likely be on track to winning another league title. It’s genuinely scary to think how good he’d have been wearing their sky blue colours.
But, at United, the best he can hope for is the FA Cup. While they’re still in the Champions League, it would require sheer luck at the current moment in time to reign supreme.
And whether they can get their season back on track, against Watford on Saturday, remains to be seen.
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