Former Manchester United winger Lee Sharpe believes that whether Cristiano Ronaldo stays at Manchester United this summer, or leaves the Old Trafford club, it will be a win-win situation moving forward. The rumours have been rife this summer with Ronaldo no linking up with his teammates for pre-season, supposedly away because of family reasons.
However, there has been a lot of speculation which has seen the Portuguese forward linked to Barcelona, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and even former club, Sporting Lisbon. It is Atletico Madrid who seem to be heavily linked with the player this week with Ronaldo supposedly wanting to move back to Madrid.
Not even a year ago, Ronaldo sought a way out of Juventus, having signed for the club three years earlier from Real Madrid. It was something that seemed special at the time and with him ending the season as United top scorer with 24 goals in all competitions, he initially seemed happy to link up with new manager Erik ten Hag.
Sharpe, 51, won three Premier League titles, two FA Cups, one League Cup, three FA Charity Shields and one UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup during his eight year career at United, is not going to get too caught up in what is happening this summer. Ronaldo could have a negative impact under Ten Hag based on the attacking intensity. Speaking to 888sport, Sharpe said:
“Obviously he brings goals which is the main thing in a football match and he’s been proving over the years that he’s one of the best in the business at doing that.
“Other than goals, the way the manager seems to want to play I’m not sure whether a 37-year-old can play the high tempo, high pressing game that the manager wants to play.
“Also does he scupper young lads’ chances of playing and the lads that are in the team is he holding them back a little bit?
“Is he a little bit too good if you like for people that they sort of step back and don’t allow their full potential to come through because he’s at the club?
“I think it’s a win-win situation. I think if he stays then United have got goals. I don’t think he’ll play every week like he wants to.”
Ronaldo’s departure from the club this summer, should it happen, would leave the door open for a new signing, or a younger player to come through the ranks and get a good opportunity to play first team football at the Old Trafford club. Anthony Martial has started pre-season in fine form, scoring three goals in three matches so far.
Sharpe concluded by saying that Martial’s start to pre-season has been that good that he would deserve to continue as the striker as Ronaldo remaining at the club would possibly push Ten Hag into picking him all the time that he is fit, would would frustrate Martial and maybe even look like he was being punished for the good form he has shown. Sharpe said:
“I think if he goes then it allows someone else to come in – whether it’s a transfer, whether it’s a young lad, they’ve played Martial up there and Martial is looking good.
“If you can get a hungry Martial then I still think he’s got a lot of ability.
“He just seems to switch off at times, but if they can keep him focused and working a little bit harder, I think he can be an unbelievable player.
“So I think it’s a win-win, I don’t think Manchester United will lose out in the situation whether he [Ronaldo] stays or he goes.”
If I could rewind the clock to this time last year, it would be much better for United to have left Ronaldo to go wherever would have taken him. Granted, he was the big name at United last season and the top scorer but the bad feeling from other players may not have happened leaving the squad with a much better harmony.
Written by John Walker