Cristiano Ronaldo missed a farewell meal organized for Manchester United staff members who were leaving last week. But while Ralf Rangnick believed the decision hinted at a “fractured team spirit” within the camp, he actually says a lot about the Portuguese international. Celebrating, after a season like this, just isn’t in his DNA.
Ronaldo returned to Manchester United from Juventus in the summer transfer window, 12 years after he quit to move to Spain with Real Madrid.
And the Portuguese international did not disappoint, scoring 24 goals in all competitions, more than any other player at the club.
Ronaldo has also been a positive figure behind the scenes, even if talk of his return has caused division and uncertainty among the team.
According to a recent report from the athleticthe Portuguese international was absent when the players attended a meal at Wings in Manchester last week.
This event was organized to see off staff members who were leaving, with another eight or nine high-level stars missing.
But while some may think Ronaldo is in a bad mood, it says a lot about his competitive mindset.
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In their eyes, there is nothing to celebrate. This was United’s worst season of the Premier League era which, given their plight in the years since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, requires quite a bit of work.
And Ronaldo, given his ultra-competitive mindset, is not one to just smile and put on a front.
In private, the Portuguese international will be hurt. He did not play in the Europa League again but, after the club finished sixth, that is the reality.
Ronaldo, in every season since the 2009/2010 campaign, won a trophy.
He claimed 15 during his time in Spain, propelling Madrid to four Champions League crowns over a nine-year period.
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And although his time at Juventus did not live up to expectations overall, he was still a success at the Allianz Stadium.
He won the Serie A title twice in as many years when he first moved to Turin in the 2019 summer transfer window.
And although his last year in Italy did not live up to expectations, he was still able to clinch the Coppa Italia before looking elsewhere for a new challenge.
Ronaldo, earlier in the season, admitted that United’s situation was difficult to digest. In an interview with Sky Sports, he said: “I don’t want to be here to be sixth, seventh or fifth.
“I am here to try to win, to compete.
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“I think that to build good things, sometimes you have to destroy some things.”
While Ronaldo’s hunger for success may have kept him from dining at Wings, it’s also worth noting his personal circumstances.
The 37-year-old was recently struck by tragedy when his newborn son sadly passed away shortly after birth.
Ronaldo missed just one game later, the 4-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield.
But it’s entirely possible that she chose to miss out on lunch in Manchester to spend more time with loved ones, including her newborn daughter.
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He is, after all, a family man too. Now the father of five children, he balances fatherhood and is the greatest footballer on the planet.
Ronaldo is now ready to stay at United. His decision not to attend the lunch in Manchester has nothing to do with any desire to go.
And Erik ten Hag, his new manager, recently spoke about the veteran.
“Of course,” he said when asked if Ronaldo would be a key part of his next project at Old Trafford.
On what he will bring, he added: “Ronaldo? Goals!”.