Cristiano Ronaldo 'made United worse' – Carragher questions why transfer request has come now

By Sports Desk July 02, 2022

Cristiano Ronaldo should have told Manchester United he wanted to leave at the end of last season rather than drop a July bombshell, according to former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher.

Superstar Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford last year, having enjoyed a remarkable career in 12 seasons away with Real Madrid and Juventus, but widespread reports on Saturday said the 37-year-old wants to leave again.

He is said to want to play in the Champions League, according to The Times, which first reported the news, and United cannot offer that after a disappointing sixth-placed finish last season.

The Portugal striker has been a mainstay in that competition throughout his career, and the prospect of being away from the frontline of elite European football would be a step down.

New United manager Erik ten Hag will target a return to the Champions League, but that is at least a year away, and veteran Ronaldo does not have time to waste.

Unless Ronaldo has been given unexpected information about his role at United in the new season, Carragher said he could not understand the timing of his apparent request to move on.

Carragher sparked a debate with former United captain Gary Neville on Twitter when he wrote: "Ronaldo did exactly what I thought he would do, score goals but make the team worse. The transfer request also kills the idea he turned down Man City because of his love for Man United."

That was a reference to the saga that saw United seemingly pip Manchester City to the signing of Ronaldo last August, when Alex Ferguson appealed to his former star player to return to the Red Devils.

Carragher's comments triggered a rebuttal from Neville, who said: "I get it, you’re full of yourselves but he can turn down City for United because he likes them more and still want to leave this summer. He left before but still loved the club. Enjoy Saturday night and your short period of success."

Carragher, who has seen Liverpool rack up a string of trophies during a lean recent period for United, did not leave it at that.

"City didn’t want him you [clown] and you're the same fella who kept saying it was like Elvis had arrived in Manchester! Elvis has left the building," Carragher replied.

Carragher added: "Also, why now? Has ETH [Erik ten Hag] told him he is not part of his plans or will play a limited role?? Surely the end of last season was the right time to tell the club."

Ronaldo scored 24 goals in all competitions last season, including 18 in the Premier League.

United finished with their lowest points tally in the 30-year history of the Premier League, a competition Ronaldo won three times during his first United stint from 2003 to 2009.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo has recently been linked with United's domestic rivals Chelsea and Jose Mourinho's Serie A outfit Roma. The Italians would be unable to offer Champions League football in 2022-23, but Chelsea could, having finished third in last season's Premier League.

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  • Ten Hag can succeed at Man Utd but only if afforded time – Litmanen Ten Hag can succeed at Man Utd but only if afforded time – Litmanen

    Erik ten Hag can improve Manchester United's fortunes but will need time to affect change, according to former Ajax and Liverpool midfielder Jari Litmanen.

    Ten Hag was appointed manager at Old Trafford in April after a successful period in charge of Ajax, but he suffered a chastening 2-1 home defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday in his first Premier League game at the helm.

    Litmanen had two spells with Ajax during an illustrious playing career, winning five Eredivisie titles, three KNVB Cups and a Champions League crown.

    Speaking to Stats Perform at the UEFA fan park in Helsinki ahead of Wednesday's Super Cup, Finland great Litmanen joked when asked if he believed Ten Hag would be a success at United: "I am for Liverpool, so hopefully not!

    "I hope the best for Erik. He is a good person and a good coach, he showed that at Ajax, but he needs time.

    "They are a big club, and they will get back to the top, but they need time. Competition is high in England so it is going to be difficult, but Erik is a good manager."

    Litmanen also raised the possibility of Cristiano Ronaldo staying at Old Trafford, despite reportedly asking for a move so he can play in the Champions League this season.

    "We will see if he can get the best out of Ronaldo," Litmanen added. "I haven't spoken to Erik so who knows? Maybe Cristiano stays the whole season, he showed he is one of the best goalscorers in history and if he leaves, then someone else will have to take that responsibility."

    Litmanen also had an 18-month spell at Liverpool, where he was part of a squad that won the EFL Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup treble in the 2000-01 season.

    Although he was used sparingly at Anfield, he did play alongside Reds icon Steven Gerrard, who is now manager of Aston Villa, and Litmanen expects his former team-mate to succeed as a coach in the Premier League.

    "Stevie G [Gerrard] is a big name in English football and Liverpool history and he for sure has something to give English football [as a manager]," he said. 

    "I was happy to play with him for one and a half years and he is someone who has a great personality."

  • 'Ronaldo to Atletico, why not?' – Guti believes Real Madrid legend could make controversial LaLiga return 'Ronaldo to Atletico, why not?' – Guti believes Real Madrid legend could make controversial LaLiga return

    Cristiano Ronaldo and Atletico Madrid would make a "good pairing" despite his Real Madrid past, according to Los Blancos great Guti.

    Ronaldo began Manchester United's Premier League opener against Brighton and Hove Albion on the bench on Sunday, having missed the majority of the Red Devils' pre-season campaign after reportedly expressing his desire to join a Champions League side.

    With the likes of Bayern Munich quickly ruling out a move for the 37-year-old, Atletico were touted as a potential destination for Ronaldo, who leads Madrid's all-time goalscoring charts after netting 450 times for Los Blancos between 2009 and 2018.

    Those reports were not well received by Atletico supporters, however, some of whom unveiled a banner reading 'CR7 not welcome' during a pre-season friendly against Numancia.

    Atletico president Enrique Cerezo has also refuted suggestions Ronaldo could make the controversial move, but former Madrid midfielder Guti is surprisingly enthusiastic about the prospect.

    "If in this case he decides to come to Atletico Madrid, why not? It's a great team, he's a great striker," Guti told DAZN. 

     

    "Atletico Madrid needs a good striker and why not? I think it would be a good pairing.

    "It would be strange, because Madrid loves him very much, because he is a very loved player. I think that the Real Madrid fans wouldn't mind. I think that everything Cristiano had to give to Real Madrid, he already gave.

    "If he feels happy being able to play in a great team like Atletico Madrid and in the Spanish league, which I think he wants, why not?"

    Ronaldo has earnt a reputation as chief tormentor of Atletico throughout his illustrious career; the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has scored 25 goals in 37 competitive appearances against Los Colchoneros, including a late penalty in Madrid's 4-1 extra-time Champions League final win in 2014.

  • Benzema altered his 'game and ambitions' when Ronaldo left Real Madrid Benzema altered his 'game and ambitions' when Ronaldo left Real Madrid

    Cristiano Ronaldo helped Karim Benzema "on and off the pitch" while at Real Madrid, but Los Blancos' current talisman knew he could do more when his former team-mate departed.

    Ronaldo is Madrid's all-time leading goalscorer, having netted 450 times in all competitions between 2009 and 2018, when he joined Juventus.

    Benzema has since picked up the mantle, however, scoring a remarkable 131 goals in the past four seasons. While Ronaldo's Manchester United future is in doubt, his old strike partner is thriving.

    Of players in Europe's top five leagues last term, only Robert Lewandowski (50) – who will go up against Benzema in LaLiga after his switch from Bayern Munich to Barcelona – scored more goals in all competitions than the France forward, who averaged a goal every 88 minutes.

    Asked ahead of the Super Cup clash with Eintracht Frankfurt whether Ronaldo's exit had directly benefited his own form, Benzema told a news conference: "It's true I've scored more goals but when Cristiano was here we had a different style, I provided more assists and he helped me on and off the pitch.

    "I knew I could do more [at the time] and when he left it was the time to change my game and ambitions, I'm doing that at the moment."

     

    Benzema's form has seen him emerge as a favourite to win this year's Ballon d'Or, a bid only strengthened by Madrid's success in LaLiga and the Champions League last campaign.

    But the striker is simply focused on his team's exploits, adding: "I'm not like that in terms of whether I'm the best or not, I always give my all for this club, the best club in the world.

    "I have to give more and more every year, it's true I had a very good season, but other people can comment on if I'm the best in the world. I'm focused on helping my team in matches, that's all I can say.

    "I'm not thinking about [the Ballon d'Or], there's trophies to win every year, that's very important. I always stress the importance of success for the team that leads to individual success."

    For Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, there is little doubt that he has the best forward in world football at his disposal.

    Asked if Madrid, who wanted to sign Kylian Mbappe before Benzema's compatriot signed a new deal with Paris Saint-Germain, needed to bring in a back-up striker before the transfer window closes, Ancelotti replied: "We have strikers, plenty of them. Benzema, Mariano [Diaz], [Eden] Hazard, Rodrygo, Vinicius [Junior], have I forgotten any?

    "When you're missing the best striker in the world, there are alternatives, but it's impossible to replace Benzema, no player in the world can replace Karim. If anything happens, we will adapt."

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