22.04.2022 » One tough season at a club in disarray won't tarnish Ronaldo's legacy
No matter how fantastic Ronaldo has been throughout his career, and still is, a team of United's stature should not be relying on any 37 year old to win them games on their own. And yet, that is exactly what Ronaldo has done. Against Spurs at home on March 12, CR7 played like a man possessed, scoring a remarkable hat trick to keep his side in the top four race, and he did it again on April 16, with his match winning hat trick against Norwich, including a 76th minute free-kick to win the game. Even so, there has been talk by some pundits that Ronaldo has been more of a hindrance to his side this year than a help, due to his lack of pressing off the ball and defensive effort. This shouldn't be his legacy. When he does decide to retire, he should be remembered as one of the greatest players in the game's history, and a man who won titles almost single handedly at United, Real Madrid and Portugal. He has the opportunity to be the hero for his country one final time at the World Cup this upcoming winter, and Portugal are seen as an outside bet to win the tournament, with odds of 16/1 according to odds sourced from these new betting sites. Considering this is almost definitely his last chance at winning a World Cup, it would be foolish to count him out.
Cristiano Ronaldo - All his 27 goals so far:
Covering for United's issues, or the issue itself?
A major talking point surrounding Manchester United's disappointing season has been the debate as to whether Ronaldo is the problem or the solution for United at the moment. His quality is unquestionable but there have been times this year where he has felt like a passenger, and his inability to contribute defensively is harming United. However, his late heroics on so many occasions have shown exactly why Ronaldo is still so revered. He is a clutch player that can turn it on when the lights are brightest or the pressure is at its highest and has shown that on countless occasions throughout his incredible career. That is proven by how impressive he was on the European stage this season, scoring six times in seven appearances in the Champions League. The fact that some people feel that his 15 goals in 26 Premier League games - a fantastic return for mere mortals - has been a disappointing return highlights quite how incredible Ronaldo has been throughout his career, that people would call that disappointing.
It has undoubtedly been an incredibly disappointing season for Manchester United, but given the form of players such as Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, there are more issues for United to contend with. They are in a battle for fourth place and Champions League qualification with Spurs and Arsenal, and seem the least likely of the three to achieve that. If that were to happen, it's hard to see Ronaldo staying at United as they begin their new era under Erik Ten Hag. Ronaldo will be 38 next season, and won't want to be playing for a team in the Europa League undergoing a rebuild that could take years.
Former Arsenal midfielder and Sky Sports News pundit Paul Merson said after Ronaldo single handedly beat Spurs that he can't see the Portuguese staying at Old Trafford past this season. He said: "Do I think he'll still be there next season? No, absolutely not. I'd be shocked if he was still there. I don't think the manager who's coming in is going to be as soft. I don't think it's going to work with him. If you want to win the Premier League, that isn't happening."
One last dance at Sporting?
If Ronaldo were to leave United in the Summer, the team that is most likely to secure his signature is the team where it all began: Sporting Lisbon. If we're talking about Ronaldo's legacy, where better to finish his career than the team he began it at.
Ronaldo's mother Dolores has stated that it is her wish for him to return to Sporting one day. She told the ADN de Leao podcast last year: "Ronaldo has to come back (to Sporting), he'd be here for me. He likes watching Sporting's games. I've already told him: "Son, before I die I want to see you return to Sporting". "Let's see…", he said." Dolores also jokingly warned the current owner of the No.7 shirt at Sporting Lisbon Bruno Tabata not to get used to his number, saying: "Today, no.7 belongs to Tabata…for now. When Ronaldo comes, it will be his! Ronaldo, coming here, will make up for it with the sales of shirts. In Manchester it was crazy." It would be poetic for Ronaldo to finish his career with a season at United where he made his name, and then some time at Sporting and to lead them to a Portuguese title.
Cristiano Ronaldo's career has led to him winning countless titles including five Champions League's and five Ballon d'Ors. Despite Manchester United having a disappointing season this year, there is nothing that can tarnish Ronaldo's legacy. Now, he should leave the sinking ship of United, and finish what he started by returning to his home country and the club he started his glittering career at. But first, he will have his eyes on the one trophy that has eluded him throughout his career - a World Cup. The upcoming tournament in Qatar this winter may well be his last, and Portugal and Ronaldo fans will be hoping he can produce some more magic on the biggest stage to produce a magical World Cup win for his nation.
Cristiano Ronaldo next game for Manchester United is on April 23, against Arsenal. You can watch Arsenal vs Manchester United, Inter vs AS Roma, Real Sociedad vs Barcelona, Manchester City vs Watford, Brentford vs Tottenham, and Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund, all matches provided from our football live streaming game pages.
Manchester United next game:
Arsenal vs Manchester United kick-off time (23-04-2022):
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Spain (Madrid) | UTC/GMT+2: 13:30
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New York (United States) | UTC/GMT-4: 07:30
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