Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United Return: A Tale of Challenges and Leadership.
In his return to Manchester United, Gary Neville has offered his critical assessment of Cristiano Ronaldo's performance, highlighting the football legend's failure to adapt to his new surroundings.
Despite this critique, Neville firmly asserted that Ronaldo remains a superior player to Lionel Messi.
Upon his comeback to United in 2021, Ronaldo's arrival did not yield the anticipated results. While he managed to score 24 goals during his debut season, the team's overall performance suffered, with a marked improvement occurring under the guidance of Erik ten Hag once Ronaldo's influence waned.
The lowest point for Ronaldo came when he walked out of Old Trafford after United's convincing victory over Tottenham, refusing to participate as a late substitute.
This incident led to Ronaldo issuing an apology to his teammates and was followed by a controversial interview with Piers Morgan in which he criticized various aspects of the club. Unsurprisingly, this marked the end of his career at United and in European football.
Reflecting on Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford, his former teammate Neville offered his insights: "I believe he performed exceptionally well in terms of goal-scoring.
However, as a leader in both the dressing room and world football, there are varying approaches to leadership, mentorship, and coaching younger players who may not possess his level of skill." Neville went on to express his belief that Ronaldo should have adjusted his leadership style to mentor and uplift the less experienced players on the team.
Neville acknowledged that Ronaldo's frustration with his teammates occasionally surfaced during games, leading to confrontations. He emphasized Ronaldo's unmatched work ethic, blending talent with relentless dedication.
Neville suggested that Ronaldo's difficulty stemmed from concluding his career in teams that didn't match the caliber he had experienced earlier.
Regarding the public nature of Ronaldo's departure, Neville expressed his wish for a different outcome, with both parties finding a way to coexist until the end of the season. However, he believed this became untenable after the revealing interview with Piers Morgan.
Ronaldo and Messi have enjoyed a remarkable rivalry for over a decade, collectively dominating the Ballon d'Or awards. While Messi has secured seven individual honors to Ronaldo's five, Luka Modric in 2018 was the only player to disrupt their duopoly.
When asked to weigh in on the greatest player of the modern era, Neville stood by his former teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo.
He hoped that, in time, Ronaldo would understand the intentions behind his comments, emphasizing the importance of senior players like Ronaldo guiding and mentoring younger talents.
Despite differing opinions, Neville confessed his enduring admiration for Ronaldo, labeling him his favorite player and the greatest of all time in his eyes, even though many argue in favor of Messi.