As Cristiano Ronaldo turns 37, the Manchester United star won’t be in the mood to celebrate his birthday. Friday night’s FA Cup loss to Middlesbrough was a blow for the Red Devils, with the club seeing yet another trophy overtake them. So, as the Portugal international enters another year in his glittering career that spans two decades, Express Sport takes a look at 20 reasons why he would be right to leave the club for the second time.
1. No chemistry
Time after time, Ronaldo makes blistering runs, only for his teammates to fail to find him. It was evident against Boro, with the striker getting frustrated time and time again.
2. He’s not a captain
As the United players prepared to take a penalty shootout in the shootout, Ronaldo cheered on his teammates while Harry Maguire adopted a calmer tactic of simply whispering words in their ears. He’s not a captain, but he probably should be.
3. The club has changed
When Ronaldo first played for United, the club was able to compete for every trophy. Certainly, this is no longer the case.
4. Age is catching up
Ronaldo is not the striker he was during his time at Old Trafford and he can choose to leave the Premier League as long as he is up front.
5. There is no ole
Ronaldo returned to United to play under former team-mate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He doesn’t enjoy the same luxury under Ralf Rangnick, which is yet another problem.
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6. Plains are a style issue
United have yet to come up with their best system or best XI under Rangnick. This uncertainty does not help anyone.
7. His salary creates a problem
Ronaldo earns around £400,000 a week. This means that the club have to pay a lot of money to keep their teammates at their side and this is yet another problem, leading to problems behind the scenes.
8. Old Trafford is not harmonious
United are no longer the happy side they used to be. There are cliques behind the scenes, in stark contrast to when Sir Alex Ferguson ruled the roost.
9. He’s Weird
Ronaldo is potentially a hindrance rather than a help. United like to play with speed, but the veteran has lost that particular trait, although his goalscoring remains admirable.
10. Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea
It will take years for United to catch up, let alone better, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea. Ronaldo has no more years ahead of him.
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While United are managed by the Glazers, they will be retained. Ronaldo likes the club to show ambition, but his failure to sign a midfielder in January, despite the finances to do so, shows what his position is.
12. Uncertainty about summer
United still don’t know who their next manager will be. Ronaldo could be seen as surplus to the needs of whoever succeeds Rangnick.
13. The goals are drying up
Ronaldo doesn’t score with the power he used to. The Premier League is a tricky league and the veteran may be tempted to take on an easier challenge instead.
14. No FA Cup
United needed to go deeper into the FA Cup to improve their season. This will no longer occur after the loss to Boro.
15. There Will Be Suitors
Ronaldo will have suitors if he leaves United. He could join Paris Saint-Germain to replace Kylian Mbappe, while MLS clubs are also said to be interested in signing him.
16. United need a new generation to step up a gear
United finished second without Ronaldo last season, but that won’t be repeated this time around. A new generation is waiting to step in and perhaps the 37-year-old thinks it’s best to leave to allow them to take center stage.
17. It Could Get Worse
United’s season could actually get worse. They face a big fight to finish in the top four and not winning the Champions League would be another blow.
18. Europa League or UEFA Conference League?
If things do get worse, it could mean United play in the Europa League or UEFA Conference League next season. Ronaldo, given his obsession with the Champions League, will see playing in either as a stain on his record.
One thing that can make Ronaldo leave United is regret. He could have, and perhaps should have, gone to Manchester City when he had the chance. At least he would have added another Premier League title to his impressive CV.
20. United are no longer winning
It will be six years since United last won a trophy. They’ve lost their winning DNA and Ronaldo, for all of his, can’t turn things around on his own.
When Ronaldo first left United
In 2009, Ronaldo won the Premier League and the EFL Cup with United.
However, after a 2-0 Champions League final loss to Barcelona, he then decided to leave the club and join Real Madrid.
It was a deal that lasted a year, with Los Blancos already missing out on the Portugal international in 2008.
Ronaldo marched past a full Bernabeu stadium.
And he didn’t disappoint, scoring a ridiculous 450 goals in 438 appearances before leaving for Juventus in 2009.