The former Arsenal icon preached from his SkySports punditry pulpit recently, drawing his eye on the Portuguese legend and claiming that Man United was not automatically a better team after signing Ronaldo and that the former Real Madrid and Juventus forward is instead one of the reasons why Solskjær is now unemployed.
Manchester United are without proper leadership on the Old Trafford touchline after the club parted ways with Ole Gunnar Solskjær in the wake of their embarrassing 4-1 loss against Watford at the weekend, but star forward Cristiano Ronaldo has now come under fire for his apparent part in the Norwegian failing in his duties
“I feel sorry for Ole Gunnar Solskjær. He had a plan at the start of the season, having finsihed second last season. You could see his plan: you play Cavani every other game, you have Sancho on the one side, Marcus Rashford on the other, you have Mason Greenwood coming in. You have pace, power, energy, youth, skill, the lot. Then, just before the season starts, he gets given Ronaldo.
From day one, they’re not a better team with Ronaldo in it. It’s all snowballed for Solskjær. He had a plan, and then the Ronaldo situation threw it all out of the window just before the season started. They only went for him because they heard Man City were after him. It’s not like United were calling Juventus to ask if he’s available because Ronaldo is the missing link for United winning the Premier League. He isn’t!”
Certainly, it is difficult to say for sure whether or not Cristiano Ronaldo is the sole cause for Solskjær being out of a job, but the unexpected move that materialized for the Portuguese star did seem completely away from what the club was trying to build for its forward line after United purchased Jadon Sancho from German giants Borussia Dortmund.
The potential long-term front three that would comprise Sancho, Greenwood, and Rashford with Bruno Fernandes as the creative fulcrum at the heart of the attack would have offered – as Merson mentioned – a well-balanced yet youthful attack with room to grow. But did the acquisition of Ronaldo have to force the narrative away from the long-term picture? Surely, that decision came down to Solskjær, unless those on high in the Man United hierarchy had a different directive that was passed down the chain to the Old Trafford touchline.
Would Pochettino face the same issues?
But with Solskjær now out of the fold at United, the band must continue playing until a new boss is appointed; which could be sooner than some perhaps would have expected.
There is no secret surrounding the Red Devils’ wish to bring Mauricio Pochettino back to the Premier League, but this may be the best chance they will get to perpetrate such a move after the Argentine is rumored to be open regarding the managerial vacancy at United amidst issues with French outfit Paris Saint-Germain.
However, the bigger question remains whether or not Pochettino would have issues with Ronaldo in a similar vein to struggles he endured dealing with Harry Kane in his final season at Tottenham before jet-setting off to Paris.
In a Forbes piece written two years ago by Graham Ruthven, Kane came under similar criticism that Ronaldo has drawn this season when the England international was under the command of Pochettino in 2019;
“Explanations for their turgid form are being sought, but Pochettino has seemingly still to find much in the way of answers. The Argentine has previously bemoaned a lack of investment in his squad as well as the conjecture around Christian Eriksen and his future at the club. Harry Kane also deserves to be a target.
Despite being Spurs’ top scorer, best player and spiritual leader, Kane has so far managed to avoid criticism. This is largely down to his still respectable scoring record over the early part of the season. Indeed, while Tottenham have struggled, Kane has kept his numbers high, already hitting double figures for the campaign with six goals in 11 Premier League outings and four in four in the Champions League.
Nonetheless, Kane is a primary source of Tottenham’s current problems. Far too often the 26-year-old is guilty of trying too much on his own. It’s admirable that Kane feels such personal responsibility for his team’s recent struggles, but the extra effort he is putting in is only holding back Spurs further.
By dropping deep and drifting out wide, Kane is clogging up Tottenham’s play in the attacking third. Dele Alli, Heung-min Son, Lucas Moura and even the likes of Tanguy Ndombele are being stifled by the Spurs number 10. He is denying them the chance to facilitate him, so while Kane might be keeping his goalscoring numbers high the detrimental impact he is having on the rest of his team far outweighs this.”
Thus, it can be postulated that, if United does trigger payments to pry Pochettino from PSG before his contract comes to an end, it is entirely possible that Cristiano Ronaldo could clash with what is expected in the tactical schematic under the Argentine manager.