Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reveals how Cristiano Ronaldo killed Man United’s style of play after his return to Old Trafford

Former Manchester United boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has opened up on Cristiano Ronaldo’s struggles on his return to the club.

Ronaldo made a switch back to Old Trafford from Juventus in 2021, but things didn’t go as planned for the Portuguese.

The veteran forward went from being United’s top scorer in his first season to an outcast in the following campaign under Erik ten Hag, who dropped the Portuguese star from his side.

Ronaldo came under fire over his attitude during games – including storming off before the end of matches and refusing to come on as a substitute before he granting a tell-all interview to Piers Morgan, claiming he felt ‘betrayed’ by United and that he didn’t respect Ten Hag.

His old manager, Ole Solskjaer has now revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo killed the team’s style of play after his Man United return.

Speaking on the Stick to Football podcast, brought to you by Sky Bet, Solskjaer said: ‘We started off straight away thinking how we are going to press and change the little tweaks.

‘Cristiano is different to Antony Martial who was up front, or whether we would play Mason [Greenwood] or Marcus [Rashford] upfront. Edinson Cavani was the one that suffered the most when Cristiano came in – we’d played and got Edinson into a certain way of understanding the way we played.

‘With the ball, with him in the team, it was no problem. Without him [pressing], we had to change a little bit the different roles we’d gotten used to. We were one of the highest pressing teams before [Ronaldo joined]. We let Dan James go when Cristiano came in, and they’re two different types of players.’

Solskjaer added that Ronaldo’s passion was what United were after, but claimed the player’s attribute sometimes hindered the side.

‘Part of signing Cristiano Ronaldo was getting that passion from him, but that did have its complications,’ added Solskjaer.

‘You’ve got Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial, who can learn from Cristiano as he’s the best, the most disciplined and he’s been the best player in the world, and you think he’s going to help them.

‘When he arrived at the club, he told me to start him for three games in a row, and then put me on the bench for the fourth game, but he’s so passionate so when I did that, he didn’t like it.’

Solskjaer – who was sacked in November 2021 after a run of poor results, admitted the move ultimately didn’t work out, but insisted that it felt like ‘the right decision at the time’.

‘It was a very quick decision,’ he added. ‘We didn’t think Cristiano was available and that he was going to move. When it became apparent that he was leaving Juventus, obviously there were other clubs that wanted him – but I was excited.

‘They [United] asked me, “Would you want us to try this?”. I said yes – obviously we know Cristiano is quality, and he’s 37, but we have to manage – he’s the best goal scorer in the world. It didn’t work out for me, it didn’t work out for Cristiano, but it was the right decision at the time.

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