Cristiano Ronaldo only half the player, as pundit criticises Man Utd return

Date published: Saturday 28th August 2021 6:15 - Matthew Briggs

Cristiano Ronaldo during the warm-up for the friendly of Juventus vs Atalanta, August 2021

Manchester United’s decision to bring back Cristiano Ronaldo back to the club has been criticised by Paul Merson.

United moved quickly on Friday to bring the 36-year-old back to Old Trafford after he asked to leave Juventus.

Red Devils officials quickly made their interest known to his agent Jorge Mendes, with Man City also offered the forward.

But after speaking with Sir Alex Ferguson, City knew their race was run and pulled out of a potential move, leaving the way clear for United.

A transfer fee of around €15m with a potential for €8m more in add ons has been agreed,

Sky Sports report Ronaldo will have a medical in Lisbon this weekend as he closes in on a sensational return

Personal terms on a two-year deal have been agreed in principle, while the player will need a visa.

But while his return has been met by a fanfare, Merson has suggested the striker will be “nowhere near” the player he was in his first spell at the club.

Asked for a percentage of where Ronaldo is now compared to his peek, Merson said: “Nowhere near, maybe 50%. His numbers are still phenomenal, he top-scored again in Italy and he has done it everywhere he has been.

“But he is 36 years of age. And if he does it this season in the Premier League you would have to say he is near on not human!

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Setting an example

“For every kid at Man Utd – Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho I don’t know if it puts them back one notch with Ronaldo coming in. But this is a player you can watch and say this is how I have to live my life for the next 10 years to be the best.


“He will set an example like that.

“Will he win the league for Man Utd? I am going to say ‘no’. I think he will play centre forward and now Edinson Cavani will be thinking ‘why did I sign for another year?’.

“It is going to be hard. Why not go and get Harry Kane? Kane is a three or four-year option.

“This is a big deal for one season only; he will be 37 in February. It doesn’t matter how you keep yourself fit.

“His standards were up there and he was unplayable and I don’t see how that will be the case in the Premier League.”

READ MORE: The clever question that pinned Solskjaer down over amazing Ronaldo return


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