Ronaldo’s Man Utd return ‘turned out wrong’: Solskjaer

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LONDON: Former Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted the club’s re-signing of Cristiano Ronaldo “turned out wrong”.

Solskjaer was in charge when United brought the five-time Ballon d’Or winner back to Old Trafford in a much-hyped move in August 2021.

At the time the transfer was viewed as a coup that could potentially fuel a Premier League title challenge for the Red Devils, who had finished second the previous season.

But things soon unravelled as the team struggled and Solskjaer was sacked in November that year.

Ronaldo left the club in acrimonious fashion 12 months later and currently plays his football in the Saudi Pro League with Al Nassr.

“It was about taking the next step to challenge for the title. And, unfortunately, it just didn’t work out,” Solskjaer told the Athletic.

“It was a decision that was very difficult to turn down and 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 he scored twice), when Old Trafford was rocking. He was still one of the best goalscorers in the world, he was looking strong.”

But the Norwegian added: “When you have a group you need everyone to pull in the same direction. When things didn’t go right, you could see certain players and egos came out.”

Solskjaer was also the manager when the club signed England defender Harry Maguire in 2019.

The Norwegian feels the recent criticism, and even ridiculing of Maguire, has been unfair.

He said: “Harry Maguire – it’s a disgrace that he’s getting so much abuse. I feel sorry for him, but he’s a strong lad and I hope it turns for him.

“He raised our defence big time when he arrived and lifted the mood around the place.”

United, with Dutchman Erik ten Hag now at the helm, have not won the Premier League since 2013 and are currently 13th in the table after three defeats in their first five matches.

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