Cristiano Ronaldo is at a crossroads in his career.
With wide-spread reports that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner wants to leave Manchester United, everyone is wondering what the 2022/23 season might look like for both player and club.
And while, yes, it’s interesting to wonder whether Ronaldo might move to Chelsea, Bayern Munich or even stay in the end, perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the whole situation is what it says about United.
Ronaldo drama intensifies
After all, it’s been head-turning to notice that a lot of the reaction to Ronaldo’s want-away desires has been more critical of the status quo at Old Trafford as opposed to the player himself.
There’s a palpable resentment amongst a lot of the fanbase that the disasters of the 2021/22 season have essentially led to Ronaldo’s fairytale return ending after just one year – and they’re hardly blaming him for it.
As such, there is a great deal of thinking time being spent amongst supporters wondering what lessons can be learnt about the current United squad based on Ronaldo’s reported decision.
Mark Goldbridge wades into the debate
Goldbridge is an unabashed fan of Ronaldo, opining that he’s the greatest footballer of all time, as well as a vocal critic of the leaks that were supposedly coming out of the dressing room earlier this year.
And in amongst all the discourse surrounding the Ronaldo situation this week, Goldbridge decided to post a video from the Juventus dressing room after the legendary 3-0 comeback against Atletico Madrid.
“How winning mentality players react to Ronaldo”
The post, which has amassed over 15,000 ‘likes’ and 1,500 retweets at the time of writing, read: “This is how winning mentality players react to Ronaldo. United players down tools and leak negativity about him. Standards.”
It’s certainly caused a stir on Twitter, too, with some fans sharing it in complete agreement and others taking issue with the point, so be sure to make up your own mind by watching how the Juve squad treated the great man himself:
This is how winning mentality players react to Ronaldo. United players down tools and leak negativity about him. Standards https://t.co/6hDfpi8AI2— Mark Goldbridge (@markgoldbridge) July 3, 2022
It’s a complicated one.
Has Goldbridge got a point?
What Goldbridge appears to be getting at is that the Juventus players really took to Ronaldo, embracing him and celebrating him as a component greater than any other individual in the squad.
Whereas, to the contrary, there were many reports and so-called ‘leaks’ coming out of United implying that the addition of Ronaldo hadn’t been the fairytale comeback story that it promised to be.
Now, whether or not either of those dynamics are true or healthy can only be answered by the players themselves, because there is certainly evidence that runs against the wider point being made, too.
It’s hard to picture everybody in the Old Trafford dressing room feeling alienated or intimidated by the addition of Ronaldo just in the way that it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows at Juventus either.
What can be ascertained beyond reproach, however, is that having Ronaldo in your squad is completely different to signing anyone else in the sport – and that has its negatives as well as its positives.
Unless you are prepared to make him the focal point of your tactics and unless you are prepared to get on board with his win-at-all-costs attitude, then things won’t be all plain-sailing.
And that’s something to bear in mind for any clubs potentially looking to loosen their purse strings for the Portuguese icon.
Maybe you will get scenes similar to what Goldbridge is sharing from the Juventus dressing room, maybe you won’t, but let’s not kid ourselves that signing Ronaldo – as unbelievable as he is – makes for a medicine to sooth all ailments.