Cristiano Ronaldo established himself as a Manchester United legend during his first term with the club.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner won three Premier League titles and a Champions League among other cup victories with the Red Devils and returned to the club in 2021 after goal-laden spells with Real Madrid and Juventus.
Fast-forward to the present day, however, and things are not looking so good for Ronaldo. Here’s how he has fallen out of the picture at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo rejoins Man Utd in 2021
While Ronaldo racked up 81 Serie A goals in three seasons with Juventus, the club’s fortunes had dropped drastically and they didn’t win the title in 2020/21, also failing again in the Champions League.
With United going big in the summer transfer window, they then attracted Ronaldo back to the club with Champions League football and a squad finally thought to be able to challenge under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He signed a two-year deal with the option of an extra season.
Fan reaction to the signing was huge, with the forward already a legend in Manchester for his first spell before becoming Real Madrid’s greatest ever goalscorer.
However, while Ronaldo ended the season as the side’s top scorer and provided some thrilling last-minute winners, United won only 16 Premier League games, scoring 57 goals and collecting only 58 points, finishing sixth after some lawless months under Ralf Rangnick.
Ronaldo asks to leave Man Utd
With worries over United’s prospects after a tough first season back at Old Trafford, Ronaldo made his desire to leave clear to the club’s officials.
The failure to qualify for the Champions League was seen as a major factor for Ronaldo, who met with agent Jorge Mendes, chief executive officer Richard Arnold and new manager Erik ten Hag during the summer.
United initially made it clear they did not want to lose Ronaldo, who was given a leave of absence during the summer and missed their pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia.
More clubs seemed to rule themselves out of the running than declare an interest in Ronaldo during the summer and no transfer was arranged.
Ronaldo’s reintegration to Man Utd squad
With it clear no summer exit would materialise, Ronaldo stayed at United but Ten Hag repeatedly spoke of his lack of pre-season training, first indicating he would not rely on the forward.
Ronaldo came on as a substitute in the defeat to Brighton and played the full 90 minutes against Brentford. That 4-0 defeat prompted a lot of criticism over work rate, with United covering 95.6 kilometres to Brentford’s 109.4km.
Ronaldo then made four substitute appearances on the bounce, with Marcus Rashford being backed as the main focal point in United’s attack. His only club starts in September came in the Europa League against Real Sociedad and Sheriff.
Things looked rosy by the time the trip to Everton came around. Ronaldo came on early as a substitute to score his 700th club goal in a 2-1 win, but the following goalless draw with Newcastle – in which United didn’t look threatening – saw him drop back out of the picture for Tottenham’s visit.
Ronaldo storms off vs Tottenham
Ronaldo was named as a substitute against Tottenham, with Ten Hag backing Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Antony and Rashford in his attack.
United were brilliant against a lifeless Spurs, peppering Hugo Lloris with shot after shot before Fred eventually opened the scoring at the start of the second half. Fernandes curled home soon after to seal the result, taking United up to fifth in the top four race.
Ronaldo was left unneeded on the bench, with Scott McTominay, Anthony Elanga and Christian Eriksen getting onto the turf before the Portugal legend decided he had seen enough and trotted down the sideline and out of the stadium before the match had finished.
Ten Hag was confronted about the dramatic show of discontent and said it would be dealt with later, focusing instead on the victory over Tottenham.
Man Utd drop Ronaldo for Chelsea clash
Ronaldo has now been fully dealt with. His antics were not appreciated and United soon confirmed he would not be involved in the squad that will take on Chelsea in the Premier League at the weekend.
A statement read: “Cristiano Ronaldo will not be part of the Manchester United squad for this Saturday’s game against Chelsea. The rest of the squad is fully focused on preparing for that fixture.”
The two sides are currently separated by just a point, with Chelsea fourth and ahead of United in fifth.
What now for Ronaldo?
90min understands United are happy to accept the right offer for Ronaldo in January. This dramatic episode may soon confirm the Red Devils’ intention to ditch the Portuguese legend.
His attempted summer exit hinted at further unrest down the line and he’s now isolated from the rest of the squad, who have been winning games and in generally decent form after two calamitous defeats at the start of the campaign.
Elite teams were hesitant to take a punt on the 37-year-old and will be even more cautious about a potential move given the unrest that has been seen at Juventus and Manchester United in the last few years with Ronaldo’s presence.
He will now be viewing the upcoming World Cup as the ideal platform to impress clubs again and prove he can still drag sides to greatness with his legendary goalscoring record.