Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reveals why Cristiano Ronaldo’s return was ‘wrong’ for Man Utd

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted Manchester United’s decision to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo was a “wrong” move by the club.

Ronaldo made his return to 2021, joining from Juventus after 13 years away from Old Trafford. The signing notably came while Man Utd were on the ascendancy having finished second in the Premier League the season before.

The Red Devils notably regressed despite the forward bagging 24 goals in all competitions during his first season back at the club, sacking Solskjaer in November 2021 as a result of poor performances before eventually finishing in sixth place.

Speaking to the Athletic about what went wrong at Man Utd at the start of the 2021/22 season, Solskjaer admitted the signing of Ronaldo in particular had a negative impact on the club’s performances.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Ole Gunnar SolskjærCristiano Ronaldo, Ole Gunnar Solskjær

Ronaldo return to United under Solskjaer / Visionhaus/GettyImages

He said: “We were top of the league in September 2021, Cristiano Ronaldo came in, and Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho joined.

“And we’d gone strong by signing these players. It was about taking the next step to challenge for the title. And, unfortunately, it just didn’t work out.

“It was a decision that was very difficult to turn down and I felt we had to take it, but it turned out wrong. It felt so right when he signed and the fans felt that at that Newcastle game, when Old Trafford was rocking [Ronaldo scored twice in a 4-1 win]. He was still one of the best goalscorers in the world, he was looking strong.

“When I looked at the fixtures it was going to be a deciding period: Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham, and Leicester away. Then Chelsea and Arsenal, plus Champions League games. Things went against us. It started with Aston Villa at home [1-0 loss] and a late penalty miss.

“When you have a group you need everyone to pull in the same direction. When things didn’t go right, you could see certain players and egos came out. We beat Tottenham convincingly 3-0 away, but then we lost two games.”


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