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Man United player who “suffered the most” from Cristiano Ronaldo revealed by Ole Gunnar Solskjær



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Credit: YouTube / Stick to Football podcast

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has reflected on his signing of club legend Cristiano Ronaldo, labelling it the right decision for him but one that ‘didn’t work out’ anyone involved.

In the summer of 2021, amidst links with local rivals Manchester City, Solskjaer was offered the chance to bring his former teammate and serial winner Ronaldo back to Old Trafford.

What followed was a whirlwind couple of days, and former Manchester United manager has offered a unique insight into what happened.

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“It was a very quick decision [to sign Ronaldo],” Solskjaer said speaking on the Stick to Football podcast.

“We didn’t think Cristiano was available and that he was going to move. When it became apparent that he was leaving Juventus, obviously there were other clubs that wanted him – but I was excited.

“They [United] asked me, ‘Would you want us to try this?’. I said yes. Obviously, we know Cristiano is quality, and he’s 37, but we have to manage – he’s the best goal-scorer in the world.

“It didn’t work out for me, it didn’t work out for Cristiano, but it was the right decision at the time.”

Solskjaer also offered insight into how he and his coaching staff planned to use Ronaldo after his return to United was confirmed on 31 August.

The Norweigan manager continued, explaining that it was former United striker Edinson Cavani who suffered the most from Ronaldo’s arrival.

“We started off straight away thinking how we are going to press and change the little tweaks,” Solskjær continued. “Cristiano is different to Antony Martial, who was up front, or whether we would play Mason [Greenwood] or Marcus [Rashford] upfront.

“Edinson Cavani was the one that suffered the most when Cristiano came in – we’d played and got Edinson into a certain way of understanding the way we played.

“Cristiano, when you know him and speak to him, he wanted to play three out of four games, he realised he’s getting older as well. But when you leave him out once, he’s not happy!

“With the ball, with him in the team, it was no problem. Without him, we had to change a little bit the different roles we’d gotten used to. We were one of the highest pressing teams before.

“We let Dan James go when Cristiano came in, and they’re two different types of players. It was the right decision to make for me. It didn’t turn out to be the right one.”

Ronaldo’s first benching in the Premier League under Solskjaer came in October 2022 as United welcomed Everton to Old Trafford in a 1-1 draw.

The Portuguese striker came on as a substitute in the second half but was clearly furious by his demotion to the bench. He was seen storming down the tunnel after the full-time whistle.

Just one month later, the Ballon d’Or winner left Manchester United after a tell-all controversial interview with Piers Morgan ahead of the 2022 Qatar World Cup, which destroyed his relationship with the club.