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They say Old Trafford is the theater of dreams, which is why you might think Manchester United fans were still asleep when Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals in the red shirt last September.

But like dreams, there comes a time when it all seems too good to be true.

The fans will definitely wake up to the confused and chaotic reality that both Manchester United and Ronaldo are in right now.

After one season back, Ronaldo wants to leave the club. United want him to stay. It is impossible to be sure what will happen next.

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Ronaldo wants out.
Ronaldo wants out.Source: Getty Images

Of course, some can see the chaos coming. After all, Ronaldo’s so-called homecoming had no footballing meaning at the time, either emotionally or financially.

Juventus dropped to fourth place in the 2020-21 Serie A season and were eliminated from the Champions League in the round of 16 by superstar Ronaldo.

Ronaldo was supposed to lead the Bianconeri back to the promised land of the Champions League, but in the end the on-field demands proved too much to handle and the off-field held the club hostage to a small financial squeeze to improve elsewhere.

Juventus should have moved on.

With an initial fee of 15 million euros, Manchester United offered their hand and inherited the same issues in signing their most famous players for the second time.

Not only is the club blinded by nostalgia and the lack of money Ronaldo could bring – $60 million worth of material was reportedly sold within 12 hours of his release – but bitter rivals Manchester City are also concerned.

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Pep Guardiola’s team are said to be close to signing Ronaldo. Having lost Sergio Aguero and failed to sign Harry Kane, City have reportedly agreed a personal deal with Ronaldo but are refusing to pay Juventus a transfer fee.

Hours after City’s interest cooled, United were quick to announce the signing of Ronaldo 12 years after his move to Real Madrid.

Ronaldo then scored twice in a 4-1 win over Newcastle United. United have 13 points from their opening five Premier League games and will score at home to West Ham next week.

What followed was a disastrous change of manager that cost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his job and began to poison Ronaldo’s relationship with his beloved club.

Man United win at the MCG | 01:22

United have won just one of their eight league games and Ronaldo has scored just once, dashing the Portuguese forward’s long-awaited title campaign.

Meanwhile, United finished top of the Champions League group stage but were unhealthily reliant on Ronaldo, who repeatedly saved the team late in games.

Ronaldo’s four goals after the 75th minute were directly responsible for a total of 7 of the club’s 11 points.

Without Ronaldo’s goals, it is not easy to say that United would definitely have been out of the group stage.

This overreliance has stretched across competitions as United have failed to improve as a team, despite Ronaldo once again starring.

If there was any real footballing reason for bringing Ronaldo on board, it was always to not only be a goal threat, but to inspire his teammates and inspire a new generation of United greats.

Instead, it took Ronaldo an entire season to realize that while Ronaldo could consistently achieve the levels of greatness that seemed reserved for himself and Lionel Messi, the rest of the team was too heavy a ball and chain to carry.

Ronaldo didn’t inspire, instead he weakened the dependence.

To that end, Ronaldo has endured an offense – particularly as English Premier clubs City and Liverpool are renowned for their relentless 11-man effort across the park – and his need to defend is growing.

Former interim boss Ralf Rangnick has cited Ronaldo’s lack of defense as a reason why United’s trademark Gegenpress are failing.

“Cristiano Ronaldo, I don’t blame him, he did well in those games but he’s not a sensational monster,” Rannick said.

“When he was young, he was crying, ‘Hooray, the other team’s got the ball, where are we going to win the ball?’ He is not a crying player.

“It’s the same with a few other players so we had to make some compromises at one stage, maybe we did a little too much – that’s possible.”

Former Liverpool winger John Barnes also spoke of Ronaldo’s performance on the field as a big issue.

Ronaldo has been the highlight of United’s season but has been responsible for United’s weaknesses.Source: Getty Images

“If the ball doesn’t come to him, he throws his hands up,” Barnes said The glass At the beginning of this month. “That’s a good example, isn’t it? Is the deal at Manchester United a problem and who created that dispute?

“It’s the rest, I’m just doing my job,” he walks. This is not what makes a leader, but what makes a self-made person. The fans love him and if things don’t go his way he seems to say ‘it’s not my fault’.

“That’s not what a team is about. So we know Ronaldo has done well for himself, but would it be better if nobody scored 20 goals in a season and United finished top? If they had a better team, I think they would have gone up.”

That situation worsened when Ronaldo handed in a transfer request and United missed out on their pre-season trips to Thailand and Australia on a compassionate basis.

Whether he stays on the remainder of his two-year contract hinges on troubled talks with new coach Erik ten Haag, who will meet for the first time since asking to leave this week.

Ten Haag insists Ronaldo will not be sold. He will do his best to please Ronaldo, but the power doesn’t include the promise of Champions League football the 37-year-old wants, partly because of his eternal rivalry with Paris Saint-Germain’s Messi.

Ronaldo is said to be willing to take a 30 percent pay cut to join his rivals as he focuses on the Champions League.

Some may accuse the star of being short-sighted rather than targeting a return to contention with the Red Devils and relishing a third year in Manchester.

That said, Ronaldo played 30 games last season and scored 18 league goals, and the team is still 6th in the Champions League qualifiers, 13 points behind Tottenham.

Ronaldo scored 18 league goals in 30 games last season, but the team finished in sixth place.Source: Getty Images

Being Ronaldo at the level of football cannot be easy. A goal in every second game is considered under-production and he blames the team’s poor results despite his performances.

Meanwhile, the club’s football department has been forced to watch itself shoot itself in the foot with incomplete signings and leadership instability.

Winger Jadon Sancho, brought on board for an eye-watering $135 million, has scored just three goals in 29 games with three assists. Centre-back Raphael Varane is expected to form a leaky back line but has only managed the same amount of games in all competitions.

Then again, United’s season was in good shape before January, but the club was inactive in the transfer market midway through the season. Even now, ten of the Hag’s biggest moves are signing ex-Ajax centre-back Lisandro Martinez for $98.7m and gambling on Christian Eriksen, who has played just a handful of games since suffering an on-field heart attack 13 months ago. .

There has also been a revolving door of managers, which culminated in an interim arrangement for Rannick, who was meant to remain in an advisory role last season.

In the end, Rannick quickly lost the dressing room as the linchpin of Ronaldo’s inconsistent play.

It’s not just the school kids who are at risk of giving the replacement teacher a hard time – Rannick faces an uphill battle with such a clear deadline on his leadership. He has left Old Trafford, and it remains to be seen whether Ronaldo will follow him out the door.

If he does, it will be a sad moment that will take some of the shine off his United legacy.

Ronaldo’s first spell at Manchester United was short but sweet. He scored 118 goals in 292 appearances, including three Premier League titles, one Champions League and the 2008 Ballon d’Or.

Two more Premier League titles followed for United in 2010-11 and 2012-13, but the club as a whole have been in a steep decline since Ronaldo’s departure in 2009, thus raising the profile of the club.

Now everything seems to be lost, and nothing to be gained.

Ronaldo and Rangnick were a partnership of destruction.Source: Getty Images

Few United – who finished sixth last season – find themselves in the title conversation with Manchester City in their own division, with Liverpool their only real challengers.

The battle for the remaining two Champions League spots will be hotly contested: Chelsea have been exempted from government sanctions, with Russian owner Roman Abramovich able to transfer the club to American Todd Bohilly. Meanwhile, Arsenal have splashed the cash on league champions Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko, while Tottenham have added to their already attacking force with the likes of Richarlison.

Maybe Ronaldo saw the writing on the wall, that’s why he wants to leave.

Further complicating the situation is the £500,000 (A$866k)-a-week contract, which acts as a major deterrent for would-be buyers.

Most of Europe’s heavyweights are already committed to their own mega-stars, with only Atletico Madrid emerging as a genuine candidate, albeit on a one-year loan deal.

Ronaldo’s deep ties to bitter rivals Real Madrid could stand in the way of a personal loan deal, which United are said to be open to if the striker takes up the option of a third year in Manchester.

That road may still be legendary, but this is a chapter in Ronaldo’s life that should never have been written.

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