Daily Mail

In this Cristiano circus, he’s looking like a clown


WHEN Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United, I took pelters for predicting this might not be the romantic reunion it was being billed as. ‘This can only go one of two ways,’ I wrote at the time. ‘It will either be an unwanted sideshow or an absolute success.’ Turns out it was indeed a circus worthy of PT Barnum and Ronaldo, as great a career he has had, is looking like a clown. The storming down the tunnel. The refusal to come on as a substitute. Now this, an incendiary interview released immediatel­y after United signed off for the World Cup with a win courtesy of their 18-year-old Alejandro Garnacho.

As is his desire, the headlines are about Ronaldo. Erik ten Hag has shown remarkable patience if you ask me. I don’t think Sir Alex Ferguson would have shown so much. What was it Fergie wrote in his 2013 autobiogra­phy? ‘The minute a Manchester United player thought he was bigger than the manager, he had to go.’ Despite his bad behaviour, Ronaldo started against Aston Villa in the Premier League last week. Not only that, Ten Hag made him captain. Yet United lost 3-1 at Villa Park and Ronaldo did little to make it seem as if he should be starting. No player has a divine right to be picked every week. Not even a five-time Ballon d’Or winner. Ronaldo cannot seem to come to terms with the fact that, at 37 years old, his career is coming to an end. Some footballer­s bow out gracefully but Ronaldo isn’t doing that. He will say he loves United, loves the fans, all the usual cliches that he hopes will keep the supporters onside. But Sunday’s interview did the club no favours. Ronaldo has not scored many own goals in his career. There was one in 2013 when Granada beat Real Madrid 1-0 and this was definitely another, a PR own goal that says a lot about the man. As patient as he has been, there is no way that Ten Hag can allow Ronaldo to wear a United shirt again.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom