Cristiano Ronaldo is becoming a one-man sideshow… he takes the headlines when United win but is also centre of attention when they don’t – and it’s becoming a problem for Solskjaer
- Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton at Old Trafford
- Cristiano Ronaldo made the headlines after being left out of the starting XI
- The Portugal star has lifted the whole club since joining from Juventus
- But the forward’s one-man sideshow is a problem for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Another week, another sharp exit by Cristiano Ronaldo. First down the tunnel at Old Trafford after Manchester United lost to Aston Villa, he stomped off again following this draw with Everton. Face like thunder, muttering to himself.
That’s Ronaldo. The man will invariably grab the headlines when United win, but he also has a habit of being the centre of attention when things don’t go to plan — and that is becoming a problem for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Those who believe Ronaldo’s return has had a negative effect on United are very much in the minority. Five goals in five starts before he was rested against Everton doesn’t begin to tell the story.
Cristiano Ronaldo cut a frustrated figure as Manchester United were held to a draw by Everton
The forward stormed down the tunnel furious after United let their 1-0 lead slip at Old Trafford
The Portugal star has lifted the whole club and when he emerged from the dugout to warm up on Saturday, the mood inside Old Trafford changed in an instant.
Trouble is, having Ronaldo comes at a cost and we’re not just talking about his £500,000-a-week salary. He has the potential to be a one-man sideshow, as Solskjaer discovered once again.
The pre-match chatter focused almost entirely on his decision to start Ronaldo on the bench to protect the 36-year-old two-and-a-half days after his late winner against Villarreal.
Ronaldo is at the centre when United win or lose and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has an issue
The pre-match chatter was focused on Solskjaer’s decision to start Ronaldo on the bench
Post-match, the talk was about Andros Townsend mimicking Ronaldo’s trademark goal celebration when he equalised for Everton, and another hasty departure at full-time by United’s No 7.
Ronaldo was furious that Townsend had levelled from a move that started with Bruno Fernandes’s corner and involved a catalogue of United errors en route to the other end of the pitch.
In the moments that VAR checked Yerry Mina’s late effort before ruling it out for offside, Ronaldo stood glowering at his manager on the touchline. His mood hadn’t improved any when he was first off the pitch again shortly afterwards, all eyes on him.
What was it Solskjaer said on Friday about having no room for sulkers at United?
So was it the right call to rest Ronaldo for almost an hour against Everton? Probably not, when United don’t play again for another fortnight.
That said, he hardly set the world alight after coming on for Edinson Cavani in the 57th minute with United leading through Anthony Martial’s first goal for his club in eight months.
Everton equalised and were understandably disappointed not to win. Having lost three of his last six games, Solskjaer will further questions over whether he has to get more out of a gifted group of players.
‘We’ve got loads to work on and we need to improve, we know that. So the short answer is yes,’ Solskjaer replied. ‘I believe in these players and I believe we have something going. But the proof is in the pudding. We need results and you have to turn up.’
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