Ronaldo’s Return to the Red Devils

One of the world’s most renowned soccer icons, Cristiano Ronaldo, has transferred to Manchester United and is hoping to win trophies and rewrite history.

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From Argentinian legend Lionel Messi’s move to Paris Saint-Germain to Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku’s move to Chelsea F.C., it has been a chaotic and unanticipated summer transfer window for soccer fans. In the midst of all this action, Manchester United fans have certainly had something to smile about. Not only did they acquire center-back Raphaël Varane and English talent Jadon Sancho, but they have also brought in one of the world’s most renowned soccer icons: Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo was a former Red Devil from 2003 to 2009, and it was these years that helped him grow into his own as a soccer player. He won three Premier League titles, one Champions League title, and one FA Cup at Old Trafford. Regardless of his connection to United, his return has certainly astounded his followers as many expected him to remain at Juventus F.C. However, the Portuguese superstar, with a desire to rewrite history yet again in Manchester, wants a new challenge. Will Ronaldo lead Manchester United to glory as he did 13 years ago, or will his move turn out to be an underperformance like his time at Juventus was?

After Ronaldo’s initial emergence at Manchester United, he joined Spanish club Real Madrid in 2009 for a world record fee at the time. It was in Madrid where the Portuguese superstar began his legacy as one of soccer’s greats. In his nine-season stay, Ronaldo accumulated 438 appearances, with 451 goals and 132 assists. He won four Champions League titles, four Ballon d’Ors, and two La Liga titles. He became a Real Madrid club icon, amassing a huge, loyal fanbase worldwide.

Despite the enormous amount of success Ronaldo gained at Madrid, he transferred to Italian club Juventus in the summer of 2018, citing a lack of support from Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez. Many Madrid fans were saddened by his departure, but they were excited to see how Ronaldo would perform in Serie A, the top Italian soccer league. Ronaldo made a tremendous impact for Juventus with 21 goals and eight assists in his first season. The Portuguese striker won Serie A and the Supercoppa Italiana, and was subsequently named Serie A MVP. However, Juventus was unable to make it to the Champions League final, facing a 2-3 aggregate loss and elimination in the quarter final by Dutch club AFC Ajax.

In the following 2019-2020 season, Ronaldo kept up his aspirations for European glory. Juventus appointed former Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri following coach Massimiliano Allegri’s departure. The club also announced new signings, including center-back Matthijs de Ligt and midfielder Adrien Rabiot. Despite these improvements and Ronaldo’s 31 league goals, Juventus lacked its dominance from the previous season. The Italian club narrowly won Serie A by one point, but Ronaldo failed to win the Serie A Golden Boot and MVP award. Additionally, Juventus was knocked out of the CL yet again by French club Olympique Lyonnais in the Round of 16. Ronaldo dismissed claims of his disappointment with Juventus after the season ended, explaining in an Instagram post, “Personally, scoring 37 goals for Juventus and 11 for the Portuguese National Team is something that makes me face the future with renewed ambition and desire to keep doing better and better each year. But the fans demand more from us. And we have to deliver. We must live up to the highest expectations.”

However, Ronaldo’s problems piled up one after another. Before the start of the 2020-2021 season, coach Maurizio Sarri was dismissed due to his underperformance the prior season, and key players Miralem Pjanić, Blaise Matuidi, and Gonzalo Higuaín departed from the club. Despite Ronaldo’s best attempts to lead a primarily new squad, Juventus struggled. Though Ronaldo won the Serie A Golden Boot with 29 goals, Juventus ended up fourth in Serie A, missing the top spot in the league for the first time since 2011. This performance was a huge disappointment to Juventus fans and players alike, including Ronaldo, who was clearly frustrated at the lack of motivation and work from the team.

As a player of such high caliber, it’s no wonder that Ronaldo chose to relocate to Manchester United. Ronaldo wants to be at a club that consistently plays at a world-class level. While he’s done his best at Juventus to help motivate the squad and be an asset to the team, the club no longer seems like a viable option in this respect. Ronaldo’s move away from Juventus benefits both parties. It’s clear that Juventus was overdependent on Ronaldo, and with his departure, the club can focus on improving its squad slowly over time. On the other hand, Ronaldo has already made a splash at Manchester. He scored two goals in his Premier League debut against Newcastle and scored again in United’s Champions League match against Young Boys. It’s clear the Portuguese icon only has a few more years at the highest level of soccer, and hopefully he ends his career at Manchester United with trophies and a memorable legacy.