One of the biggest sports stories of the year so far has been the breakdown in the relationship between Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United. It led to the former leaving the English Premier League club after his contract was mutually terminated.
Cristiano Ronaldo was in tears before playing in his fifth World Cup 🥺 pic.twitter.com/54kvAHzFLc— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 24, 2022
Ronaldo is one of the most recognizable sportsmen in the world. He appears in commercial adverts, lifestyle magazines, and he is one of the top 10 most-followed people on Instagram. His recent television chat with British journalist Piers Morgan caused a huge stir, as he criticized his club and manager for the way he has been treated.
Global giants Manchester United, who are owned by the Glazer family, opted to release the player, making him a free agent. For a player of such value, that’s an unprecedented move in soccer. However, they felt they could not welcome him back following the claims he made.
Here is a look at whether United will be stronger or weaker now the Portuguese star has departed Old Trafford.
No more distractions for Ten Hag
Since the fallout between Ronaldo and Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag was made public, the Dutchman has had questions directed his way every week. It has been a debate that many pundits have disagreed on, with some defending ten Hag’s treatment of the player, while others felt he should have given the United legend more respect.
Ten Hag will be relieved that he can now finally move on from the saga and concentrate on helping United move up the Premier League table. The minimum requirement this season will be to finish in the top four. They are +225 with online betting sites in Kuwait like Betway to secure a top-four finish in the 2022/23 campaign. Fans who are looking to back them may be able to pick up a $450 sign-up bonus to be used on the Premier League. Football is one of the most popular sports in Kuwait, particularly the English league competition.
The United boss still has lots of quality in his squad, as is evident at the 2022 World Cup, as many of his players are representing their country at the international event in Qatar.
Marcus Rashford has benefited from his place back in the Team
England international Marcus Rashford scored just five goals in 32 appearances in all competitions last season. The striker seemed to struggle for form, which meant he was in and out of the team. Rashford was the player who replaced Ronaldo in the United team while the latter was sidelined. He has taken full advantage of that opportunity, as he has scored eight goals already in the campaign.
MARCUS RASHFORD. ALL IT TOOK WAS 3 TOUCHES. 😳— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) November 21, 2022
What a way to score your first goal in a Major tournament. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/g6fOzv7MSe
The 25-year-old is enjoying playing for ten Hag this season. The Dutchman is getting the best out of the United man, which is why he has been able to make it to England’s World Cup squad, something which looked unlikely earlier this year.
Ten Hag may be able to add to Squad in January
Ronaldo’s exit may free up some space in the squad for ten Hag to do some business in the January transfer window. The Portuguese player was the highest-paid player at the club, so the wage bill of the squad has now come down considerably.
United have been linked with their former player Memphis Depay. The Barcelona forward is now in the shadows of Robert Lewandowski at his Catalonian club, so he could see January as the perfect time to look for a new opportunity.
Ousmane Dembele is another player who could leave Barcelona in January. Although he is a winger rather than a striker, it would bolster ten Hag’s attacking options, should he wish the sign the French player who is on international duty at the World Cup for France.
Ronaldo’s legacy at United is such that most fans of the club will forgive him for the way his second spell has ended. Unlike previous managers, ten Hag has been backed by the United board. He now must prove his side can have success without the 37-year-old.
Another opportunity will most likely come Ronaldo’s way after the World Cup. He has taken a big gamble on the next stage of his career, but as a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, he has arguably achieved enough in the sport to be able to make such a bold move.