‘He didn’t like it’: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer discusses the ‘complications’ he experienced with Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United

According to goal.com, Solskjaer seized the opportunity to sign Ronaldo late in the summer of 2021, sparking a wave of enthusiasm and social media hysteria. However, he conceded that Ronaldo’s homecoming did not go as planned and discussed the player’s volatile disposition.

“Cristiano – when you know him and talk to him, he wants to play three out of four games, and he realises he’s growing older as well. But when you leave him out, he gets upset!” Solskjaer spoke on Sky Bet’s Stick to Football podcast. “Getting Cristiano Ronaldo’s enthusiasm was part of the deal, but it was not without challenges.

You have Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial, who can learn from Cristiano because he is the greatest, most disciplined, and has been the best player in the world, and you believe he can benefit them. When he first arrived at the club, he ordered me to start him for three games in a row and then put me on the bench for the fourth, but he was so passionate that he didn’t like it.”

Ronaldo enjoyed an impressive start to his United career, scoring twice on his debut against Newcastle and winning Champions League games against Villarreal and Atalanta. However, the team’s form slipped, and following devastating defeats against Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Watford, Solskjaer was fired in November.

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The Norwegian went on to say, “With the ball and with him in the squad, it was OK. Without him [pushing], we had to adjust the many roles we’d become accustomed to. We were one of the top pressing teams before [Ronaldo] signed. We let Dan James leave when Cristiano arrived, and they are two different sorts of players. It was the right option for me, but it did not turn out to be the correct one.”

Despite Ronaldo’s difficult nature, Solskjaer emphasised their mutual respect. “I had a wonderful connection with Cristiano, and we had a lot of mutual respect. I believe he handled his disappointments really well when I was there,” he remarked. Erik ten Hag, Solskjaer’s successor, had additional difficulties with Ronaldo, who left a match against Tottenham early and was later suspended from the squad. He departed the club in November 2022 after shouting out at it during an interview with Piers Morgan.

Solskjaer has gotten numerous coaching opportunities, but has declined them. However, he has not ruled out returning to the dugout. He stated, “I needed time out, and I thoroughly loved it. I just prioritised myself and my family, and I’ve had a couple offers from [other teams], but I’m like, ‘Nah, I’m not ready’. It’s one of them; it has to be somewhere where I can be myself, rather than someone telling me, ‘You need to do this, you need to do this,’ because when you’re at United, you manage them, you learn a few things, and you want to do it your way the following time. So, yes, I had a good time. That’s the thing: you think, ‘I don’t really need a job,’ but if one comes up, why not?”

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