So Ronaldo did not win Manchester United the title after all?

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So Ronaldo did not win Manchester United the title after all?


So Ronaldo did not win Manchester United the title after all?

So Ronaldo did not win Manchester United the title after all?

Ronaldo was going to be a game-changer for Manchester United this season. He has been something like that…


The bound of silence
If there’s one phrase that should be banished from football reporting it is ‘breaks silence’. Well, perhaps ‘banished’ is too strong, but there should at least be a semblance of a silence before somebody speaks. You really should not be able to ‘break a silence’ that is less than an hour old unless you are literally sat in front of a TV camera with lips stubbornly shut.

Over to the Mirror for this utter nonsense:

Harry Maguire breaks silence on Man Utd’s derby humiliation by Man City’

The ‘derby humiliation’ was over by 6.25pm on Sunday and the Manchester United website had published Maguire’s quotes by 7.45pm. Silence? That’s an absolutely astonishing turn-around. Maguire must have spoken to MUTV within half an hour of the final whistle; the poor lad probably didn’t even have a wee. Mind you, Manchester City had already royally taken the piss.


Orange quash
Roy Keane was relatively kind about Ralf Rangnick amidst his anger on Sunday afternoon. He said the German’s “hands are tied” and that “he is trying to work with big egos and he wants to play a certain way but the players don’t like it”.

But that’s no fun when you want to imply that Keane has had a right old pop at the German so the only way to harness clicks is to add 2 + 2 and make 427 so among a massive seven Keane headlines on Mirror Sport on Monday morning is this one:

‘Roy Keane quashes Ralf Rangnick’s stance on next Man Utd boss amid “huge decision” fears’

It literally makes no sense. And it absolutely makes no sense when Keane did not mention Rangnick or his ‘stance’ once during discussions about the next Manchester United manager.

Here is the entirety of what he said before the derby game:

“Huge decision for United over the next few months. They have got to get it right.

“They have got to get in the right manager to come into the club. They have chopped and changed.

“Recruitment obviously has not been good enough. There have been problems all over. At board level there has been change. A new chief executive coming in.

“The next manager, they have got to get that right. It is a huge decision in Manchester United’s history. If they don’t get it right, they are so far behind.

“We know they are far behind Liverpool anyway, and obviously Manchester City and Chelsea, they have to get it right. Who that man is, I don’t know.”

No mention of Rangnick so f*** knows how he has ‘quashed’ his stance. And actually, we don’t know what Rangnick’s ‘stance’ is beyond the fact that he knows – but has never actually said – who he would recommend.

But who cares when you have your headline and you have your clicks?


Do Ron Ron Ron
This is the back page of the Daily Mirror

…so we are buggered if we know how ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence glosses over Man Utd’s glaring £175m problem‘. Pretty much nobody is talking about Ronaldo on Monday morning; everybody is talking about how sh*t that Manchester United defence is now.


Don’t Ron Ron Ron
The only people writing about Ronaldo on Monday morning are those with a horse in the race, and chief among those is Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail.

They tried it with him, got beat by two. Tried it, without him, got beat by three. In league meetings this season, it is Manchester City 6 Manchester United 1. It would appear there are more problems at Old Trafford than simply whether Cristiano Ronaldo is on the pitch.’

Well, yes. Who the f*** thinks otherwise? But Samuel has that straw man between his teeth and is not letting go…

‘His worth to the club at the moment is as a human shield. While the world debates Ronaldo’s long and short-term future at Old Trafford, and whose fault it is that his move has not been transformative, as was hoped, others at the club escape the heat.

Players, coaches, the hierarchy, particularly those shaping transfer policy. All can hide behind the furore around Ronaldo. It dominated the immediate build-up to this match, with claim and counter-claim about his fitness and readiness.’

But they are not hiding behind the ‘furore around Ronaldo’, Martin. Here is the back page of your own newspaper on Monday morning:

Not even a mention of Ronaldo. So why is Samuel so obsessed? Well, the answer lies in a piece from August headlined thus:

‘The king is back! Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United is a gamechanger and he will relish the responsibility he will be given in pursuit of silverware.’

Oh this is glorious.

The opening paragraphs are a thing of beauty…

‘Shortly after Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United, the club lost the title to Manchester City, on goal difference.

‘It is fair to say that won’t be happening this season. No team with Ronaldo in it goes down on goal difference. They don’t always win the League – Juventus didn’t last season – but they don’t fall short due to lack of firepower. Ronaldo sees to that.’

It was fair to say that Manchester United would not lose the title on goal difference. But they do currently have a worse goal difference than sixth-placed West Ham so they could conceivably lose a Europa League place on goal difference. Ronaldo has ‘seen to that’.

The piece continues in in this vain with some absolutely beautiful lines:

Where does he fit in at Manchester United? Who knows right now, and who cares? Maybe not even Ole Gunnar Solskjaer just yet.’

SPOILER: He really didn’t.

‘So Ronaldo is here and, in many ways, his role at Manchester United has echoes of an old Christmas cracker joke.

‘‘Q: Where does a 250kg gorilla sit? A: Anywhere it flamin’ wants to.’

‘Ronaldo, in this metaphor, is the 250kg gorilla. He plays where he feels he will be most effective – because where Ronaldo is happiest, that’s where the goals come from.’

Or not.

He is up against Harry Kane, Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku as match-winners; he is attempting to elevate Solskjaer into the company of Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel. All this falls on Ronaldo’s shoulders.’

Oh f***.

That has always been Ed Woodward’s philosophy, that United should lead the way in recruiting the biggest names, and this deal is probably his last hurrah before leaving his role as chief executive. If it delivers the title, he will feel very much vindicated. Not least, because he will believe Ronaldo would have had a similar impact at Manchester City.’

This is not just hindsight; ‘if he delivers the title’ sounded ludicrous even in August.

He will arrive fit – he’s always fit – and ready to make his debut at home to Newcastle on September 11 after the international break. It is impossible not to be excited by this. It is impossible not to suspect this is a game-changing intervention by Manchester United, too.’

He’s not always fit, Martin.

It is a 250kg gorilla of a signing. With Ronaldo around, we’re about to find out who the big beasts really are.’

 Half-way arse

Headline on Sun Online: ‘Bored Ederson watches Man City’s win over Man Utd from halfway line as fans tell keeper to bring a deckchair next time.’

Opening line: ‘MANCHESTER CITY goalkeeper Ederson watched the win over rivals Manchester United from the halfway line.’

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