As brilliant as impeccable throughout his career as a footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo is gradually undermining his legend. And he squandered, according to a more than controlled career ending, the respect that he had known how to impose.
“Sunday touches the king”. In the middle of the summer period contaminated by rumors of march -and starring the part of him, far from the preparatory Asian tour of Manchester United-, Cristiano Ronaldo has wanted to put the dots in the i. Against Rayo Vallecano in a friendly last Sunday, the king was back.
But the image of the flattered king, above all indisputable, seems to crumble little by little. About questionable choices and attitudes in the twilight of the 37-year-old Portuguese’s career. Ronaldo’s symbol, the model of exemplary character and professionalism, is even shaken by former football legends, or by his own coach. That seems more and more distant, the Madrid climax of “CR7”.
An exit from Real as a turning point
Going back a few years, it is probably the episode of his departure from Real Madrid that seems to set the tone for the progressive degradation of the legendary striker. Without the support of his club in relation to his problems with the Spanish Treasury in 2017, not considered at his fair value -both economic and human- by his president Florentino Pérez, Ronaldo prefers to slam the door. After nine amazing seasons in Spain, 16 trophies (including four Champions Leagues) collected and 450 goals in 438 games.
“I felt within the club, especially on the part of the president, that they no longer considered me as they did at the beginning, he later recognized in France Football. The first four or five years I had the feeling of being Cristiano Ronaldo. Less afterwards”. Left to try his luck in Italy to continue to uphold his myth as much as to restore his self-esteem, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will never shine like before.
It will be these three seasons with more than 25 goals (28 in 2018-2019, 37 in 2019-2020 and 36 in 2020-2021), these two Italian champion titles as well, but the boy from Madeira does not achieve more. being the super impactful player that he was. And he will eventually find a new outlet, a kind of headlong career, returning to Manchester United.
Jorge Mendes knocks on all the doors, nobody answers
Just like his rival and best enemy Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo is obsessed with winning the Champions League first. He will never have succeeded at Juve, and now he will be happy at United to be able to play for him. Still the best scorer in the history of the competition, the insatiable scorer does not want his position as sovereign of C1 to slip out of his hands. His first Mancunian season allows him to risk it, and add six units to his record of 140 goals in the queen of European cups.
But the Reds Devils, sixth in the 2021-2022 Premier League despite ‘CR7”s 18 domestic goals, only cling to the Europa League. Unthinkable at first sight for someone who has only played in the Champions League since the 2002-2003 season. And so he rushes to find a way out.
Supported this summer in his mission by the super agent with the most influential address book in the world of football, Ronaldo is sent to the four corners of Europe by the hand of Jorge Mendes. Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Chelsea, Atlético de Madrid, Napoli, Sporting Portugal, Bayern Munich and even the intimate enemy, FC Barcelona, all the great cars go there, as long as they are classified for the next C1.
Rumors abound, Ronaldo denies them. “Impossible not to talk about me for a day,” he jokes on social media. Still, the damage is done. And that his popularity rating, even in Manchester, where the prince started the fable about him, is withering.
“Sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward”
So at the slightest misstep, the popular vox do not miss the opportunity to meet the man, for so long free of guilt. Not being able to stay until the end of the MU-Rayo Vallecano last Sunday after spending his first 45 minutes of pre-season in the Mancunian shirt, Ronaldo is caught red-handed by a fan’s goal, then leaving Old Trafford when his boyfriends had just played . the club’s last warm-up match before the start of the Premier League season.
Erected as the example of professional commitment par excellence, Ronaldo is no longer there, he is just the shadow of the one who commanded everyone’s respect. “If he wants to leave, Manchester United should make it easy for him to leave,” ex-Red Devils legend Gary Neville says bluntly, not at all sweet about his former Overlap teammate. Every press conference that Ten Hag does is contaminated by “The Ronaldo problem. If one player becomes the dominating factor, a distraction for the manager in press conferences, there is only one thing you can do. We all know. Sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward.”
Coming to Manchester to give it a new lease of life, Erik ten Hag risked public criticism of his star’s casual attitude. No player is above the lot, he tried to admit the Batavian. But ten Hag knows it well: Cristiano Ronaldo, thanks to the best version of himself shown during 20 seasons of a mostly brilliant career, will always be on the sidelines. Otherwise, what’s the point of being king.
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