There Should Be No Regrets Over Ronaldo’s Old Trafford Return

It was not to have the fairytale ending that many had hoped for but regardless, Cristiano Ronaldo’s second spell at Manchester United should not be a chapter of regret.

Playing some outstanding football during what was a troubled spell for the Red Devils, the Portuguese superstar can be proud of what he achieved in his second stint at Old Trafford.

A Hero’s Welcome For United Icon

There is little doubt it was at Manchester United where the Cristiano Ronaldo legacy really took shape and the forward was welcomed back to the club with open arms in August 2021. Ronaldo hit the ground running with a brace against Newcastle in his first game back, before scoring against the likes of West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Norwich and a Burnley side that are 1/12 in the odds on the Premier League relegation results this season. The returning star was not just banging in the goals against teams in the English top flight but was also prolific in the Champions League in that 2021/22 season. During the group stages, the veteran striker scored in five consecutive Champions League games and finished the group stage with six goals in total to his name.

A hip flexor issue did hinder his progress at some stages of the campaign but overall, on an individual basis, it really was an impressive start for Ronaldo, who showed he was still more than capable at the highest level. However, with United struggling as a side to keep up with rivals Manchester City and Liverpool on the Premier League table, all did not seem to be well behind the scenes in the Red Devils’ dressing room. Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford to try and help bring the good times back that he enjoyed during the successful spell for the club under manager Sir Alex Ferguson. However, he returned to a Manchester United side in a very different place and a somewhat fractured relationship with interim boss Ralf Rangnick soon saw Ronaldo struggling for game time.

Plenty Of Positives Still To Take From United Return

Ultimately the arrival of Rangnick’s replacement Erik Ten Hag saw Ronaldo’s time at Old Trafford brought to an abrupt end. Despite finishing the club’s top goalscorer the previous season, Ten Hag seemed to quickly decide Ronaldo was not in his plans going forward and the goal machine eventually moved on to Al Nassr on January 1st, 2023. It brought to an end a turbulent chapter for Ronaldo and a chance for a new challenge to win silverware and grow the game in Saudi Arabia.

While the second spell at Old Trafford for Ronaldo didn’t end as he would have hoped, the former Real Madrid and Juventus star should be proud of his efforts. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner brought a focal point to the United attack and was instrumental in the final third when other attacking players seemed to be out of form. The club’s next generation of stars also got an opportunity to train and play with one of the best players the game has ever seen and will have learned plenty from working alongside him.

Ronaldo will go down as one of the greatest ever players to where the Manchester United shirt and his second spell at Old Trafford, while somewhat unsettled, still added to that legacy.

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