The Norwegian has opened up on his decision to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to Manchester United and his dismissal from the club.
Former Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær has admitted that the decision to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to the club during his tenure “felt right but was wrong.”
Ronaldo’s highly anticipated homecoming to Manchester United took place in the summer of 2021. He rejoined the club at the age of 36, signing from Juventus for a €17 million fee.
His return sparked immense excitement among fans. Yet, as the season progressed, it became clear that integrating the aging Portuguese superstar into the squad was a complex task.
“It was a decision that was very difficult to turn down,” Solskjær told The Athletic of signing Ronaldo.
“I felt we had to take it, but it turned out wrong. It felt so right when he signed, and the fans felt that at that Newcastle game when Old Trafford was rocking. He was still one of the best goalscorers in the world; he was looking strong.”
‘Certain players and egos come out’
Ronaldo played 13 games under Solskjær, scoring nine goals and dishing out two assists. It was a solid tally, but it wasn’t enough to help United.
The Red Devils endured a terrible start to the 2021/22 campaign. By November of that year, despite overseeing a recent 3-0 away win over Tottenham, Solskjær lost his job. His dismissal came after back-to-back defeats to Manchester City and Watford.
Now, in a candid admission, Solskjær expressed his disappointment with certain players’ responses when faced with adversity.
“When things didn’t go right, you could see certain players and egos come out,” he said.
“We beat Tottenham convincingly 3-0 away, but then we lost two games.”
Solskjær managed Manchester United from December 2018 until November 2021. He recorded 92 victories, 35 draws, and 41 defeats in 168 matches, but won no silverware.