Football News

RONALDO’S DECLINE: Ten Hag and Man United Were Right to Let Go of a Fading Star

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal Performance Validates Ten Hag and Manchester United’s Decision


Ronaldo Laments the Past


The fallout from Cristiano Ronaldo’s contentious split with Manchester United seems so distant now that it wasn’t even brought up during the BBC’s broadcast of Portugal’s match against the Czech Republic.


Since January of last year, the 39-year-old Ronaldo has been playing in Saudi Arabia. However, the specific club he plays for often escapes mention due to the limited interest in the Saudi Pro League. Despite this, Ronaldo continues to command significant respect.


Referred to as a phenomenon, Ronaldo is competing in his sixth European Championship, two decades after his first. Francisco Conceição, the hero of Portugal’s victory in Leipzig, was just 18 months old when Ronaldo made his mark in the 2004 Euros.


Such longevity is astonishing in modern sports. Ronaldo is renowned for his relentless drive. Although he marred his top-tier career with a stint in a league criticized for sportswashing, his performance in the Middle East shows he hasn’t retired in spirit.


Ronaldo’s departure from United 19 months ago seemed pertinent when watching him struggle through Portugal’s recent match. He missed two significant chances, both offside. His main contribution to Portugal’s winning goal was taunting a couple of Czech players.


His missed opportunities echoed his final months at United. He had been reduced to a strategic substitute and wasn’t used in the heavy 6-3 defeat to Manchester City, a decision Ten Hag described as being out of respect for Ronaldo’s illustrious career.


Fernando Santos, the former Portugal coach, benched Ronaldo at the last World Cup, and his substitute, Goncalo Ramos, scored a hat-trick against Switzerland in the round of 16. Santos was dismissed after Portugal’s quarter-final loss to Morocco.


Roberto Martinez, Portugal’s current coach, seems to be the one willing to reintegrate Ronaldo. It remains to be seen if Portugal erred in choosing Martinez, who underachieved with Belgium’s talented squad at Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup.


As Portugal fought to overturn a 1-0 deficit against the Czechs, Martinez made five substitutions but left the aging Ronaldo on the field. Martinez has a reputation for leniency, unlike Ten Hag.


 Ten Hag’s Prudent Management of Ronaldo


Ten Hag handled Ronaldo’s situation with exceptional tact. Ronaldo has scored 58 goals in 64 games for Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia. The top two Saudi clubs, Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal, scored a combined 201 goals in their league. It’s a league where even moderately competitive players can excel.


Ronaldo’s performance against the Czechs was reminiscent of his declining days at United. He scored three goals under Ten Hag—one in the Premier League and two in the Europa League against FC Sheriff, including one penalty.


United were more effective with Ronaldo during the 2021-22 season and performed better without him in 2022-23. Ronaldo’s enthusiasm waned once he lost his place in the Champions League, a competition he had dominated.


In the summer of 2022, Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, approached clubs like Atletico Madrid, Napoli, Chelsea, and AC Milan, but none showed interest. Consequently, Ronaldo’s confidant, Ricky Regufe, arranged his move to Al-Nassr.


Ronaldo fought against the decline in his career, but it was inevitable. Missing a proper pre-season due to

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button