Friday 15 December 2017 / 12:15 AM

Should United bring Ronaldo back to Old Trafford

And so the rumour that has existed pretty much ever since he departed Old Trafford in 2009 has reared its ugly head again – Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United.

Since the Portuguese maestro departed for Spanish shores six years ago, things have been pretty rosy for the three-times Ballon d’Or winner.

He’s scored hundreds of goals, won pretty much everything there is to win domestically, and broken a whole load of records.

Now, according to the rumour mill, he could be ‘heading home’ to Old Trafford.

The question is: would this be a good idea?

On one level, it is entirely understandable that United would want to sign their former number seven. He is still probably the best footballer in the world, and he still scores goals, seemingly at will.

When he was last at United, he carried the team, scoring freely, and catapulting the side to numerous honours. He loved the United faithful, and the United faithful loved him.

Then he left. 

And since that moment, United have never quite got over it. There have been consistent rumours linking them to their former player, and it was widely acknowledged that the 30-year old was the player David Moyes was most interested in signing during his ill-fated and short-lived regime in 2013 and 2014.

It is easy to create a convincing argument for Ronaldo returning to Old Trafford, but it is also easy to think of the drawbacks.

For one thing, signing him now would mean buying a depreciating asset for big bucks. Okay, so he’s still worth a whole lot of money, but in three years time when his pace and precision are starting to wane, Ronaldo won’t even be worth half of what he’s worth now.

Secondly, there’s a good chance that he wouldn’t have the same impact in the Premier League that he had during his first spell. Great player though he is, the fact of the matter is that he is playing in La Liga, where Real and Barca are generally the two dominant teams, with a number of teams in the league ‘just making up the numbers’.

This is not to say that he isn’t a great footballer – he is – but I wonder if he would be as impressive back in the Premier League against faster, more aggressive defences.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, it’s never really the same, is it? Whilst Ronaldo and United were a match made in heaven, things have changed. United have a different manager, who doesn’t play the same fluid, attacking football as Sir Alex Ferguson.

The players have changed, with the majority of Ronaldo’s former teammates having retired or moved on.

In short, nearly everything’s changed, and United’s reported pursuit of Ronaldo smacks of them wanting to turn the clock back to 2009 when they were a European force.

 

Like a couple that breaks up for a while and then gets back together, there’s a good chance that Ronaldo and United might realise that they broke up for a reason, and United would be perhaps be wise not to invest millions in finding out whether that’s the case or not.

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About the author

Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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