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Cristiano Ronaldo’s second homecoming to Manchester United in 2021 was the leading soccer storyline of the time. Three years later, former United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recalled he made the ‘right decision at that time’ to sign Ronaldo. But what transpired on the field after the landmark signing was forgettable for Solskjaer. “It didn’t work out for me,” said the Manchester legend, referring to the Portuguese’s return to Old Trafford. In a recent sit-down with fellow English Premier League icons, Solskjaer detailed how CR7’s homecoming became detrimental to the Red Devils’ gameplay and certain players.

Ronaldo’s first season after his second coming was decent, with 24 goals in 38 appearances. Though this is significantly insignificant to his current Al Nassr numbers, a way more turbulent season hit CR7 in 2023. He secured just three goals in 16 matches.

Solskjaer laments Cristiano Ronaldo reunion, citing a drop in United’s high-press style

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Cristiano Ronaldo played together in United during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign. In the recent episode of the Overlap podcast, the Norwegian boss explained his second union with the 5x-Ballon d’Or was not as great as the first. “It didn’t work out for Cristiano,” Solskjaer said. “[Edinson] Cavani, so he was the one that suffered the most when Cristiano came in. We’d got Edinson into a certain way of understanding the way we played and, it’s just that first game you thought, yeah, it’s going to work.” After Ronaldo joined, Cavani was forced to make cameos for the Red Devils, starting only eight out of 20 matches.

Moreover, Cavani left Manchester United after the 21-22 season with just two goals and an assist. Soon, Solskjaer lamented the fall in Manchester United’s high-pressing style. “We had to change a little bit and different roles and we’, we’d gotten used and, we were one of the highest pressing teams actually before, and we had loads of energy. We’d let Dan James go when Cristiano came in. So that’s two different types of players,” the Norwegian added. Manchester United’s woes after the prodigal son’s return would first backfire on Solskjaer and later on Ronaldo himself.

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Ronaldo and Solskjaer had a bitter ending to their Manchester United

Manchester United sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on November 20, 2021, after a shocking 4-1 loss against Watford. The Red Devils also considered the Norwegian’s consistent losses and high-pressing drop before showing him the door. Ralf Rangnick joined Old Trafford as an interim manager. Rangnick’s style also heavily depended on high pressing. But Cristiano Ronaldo found it challenging to adapt, and problems persisted.

READ MORE: Journalist Explains Why Georgina Rodriguez Wants Cristiano Ronaldo To Retire Soon, Despite Eden Hazard’s ’50 Years’ Claim

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Thereafter, Erik ten Hag replaced Rangnick as the team’s head coach. Ten Hag started strongly in the 2022-23 season, but Ronaldo could not thrive under his reign. The duo encountered disagreements, resulting in CR7, ultimately deciding to leave his second time at United in December 2022. What are your thoughts on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s statement? Tell us in the comments.

READ MORE: Kalvin Phillips Ends Cristiano Ronaldo-Lionel Messi GOAT Debate and Shockingly Snubs Erling Haaland For Arsenal Legend

Written by

Krishna Prasad M

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One take at a time

Krishna Prasad is Soccer Writer at EssentiallySports. Unlike others, his journey as a sports enthusiast was not colored by soccer initially. The 2006 FIFA World Cup, however, changed his perspective, as the beautiful game took up a small space in his heart.
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Edited by

Jacob Gijy