Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Admits Regret Over Sour Ending to Cristiano Ronaldo’s Man Utd Career

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Admits Regret Over Sour Ending to Cristiano Ronaldo’s Man Utd Career

Elijah Odetokun
updated at February 13, 2024 at 1:38 PM
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  • Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United for a second spell in 2021
  • He left on acrimonious terms in December 2022 after issues with Erik ten Hag
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who brought him back, is unhappy about how it ended

Cristiano Ronaldo's second spell at Manchester United ended sadly, prompting reflection from the manager who brought him back.

Ronaldo returned triumphantly to Old Trafford in 2021 from Juventus, 12 years after first leaving for Real Madrid for a world-record fee of£80 million in 2009.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Old Trafford.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer embrace after his second Manchester United debut. Photo by Oli Scarff/AFP.
Source: Getty Images

He enjoyed a brilliant first season, scoring 24 goals in all competitions, 18 in the Premier League and six in the UEFA Champions League, but the club finished sixth on the table.

He had two managers in the first year – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who signed him and Ralf Rangnick, who replaced the Norwegian when he was sacked in November 2021.

Solskjaer admits regret over Ronaldo

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner’s second season was the most turbulent of his career, with the issues starting with Rangnick. Per Goal, he missed most of pre-season due to his newborn daughter’s illness after losing the male child of the twin.

His time at the club ended after an explosive interview with Piers Morgan, in which he slammed ten Hag, claiming he lacked respect for him. His contract was terminated shortly after.

Solskjaer has opened up on the situations surrounding his return and the ultimate end in an interview with Times of India.

The 1999 UEFA Champions League winning goalscorer reflected on how Ronaldo ended up at the club, defying the difficulty of the deal in the early stages to complete a fantastic return and how his first season went.

“He had a good season… I love Cristiano’s professional attitude. But it didn’t work out for him. It didn’t work out for me. It didn’t work out for the team, unfortunately. But at that moment, it was the right decision to welcome him back to Old Trafford. That’s life. We made a decision,” he said
“Unfortunately, after I left, it turned sour with Cristiano. It was sad to see from the outside,” he added.

His second debut was against Newcastle United, and he scored a brace in the 4-1 win – a glamorous day at Old Trafford spiced by Peter Drury’s commentary.

The 39-year-old moved to Saudi Pro League with Al-Nassr after leaving England. In his first year at the club, he scored 54 goals in all competitions, including international goals.

Ole has been unemployed since he left the Red Devils, turning down a few offers.

Solskjaer regrets Ronaldo's return

Sports Brief previously reported on Solskjaer regretting Ronaldo's return, admitting it was beautiful at the beginning, but it probably should not have happened.

His recent interview in India moved on from the regret of signing him to how it ended, confirming that it was an unnecessary reunion.

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Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.