Premier League legend Alan Shearer has defended Manchester United talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo, claiming there is a false narrative around him.
In his exclusive column for The Athletic, Alan Shearer has said that he will not blame Cristiano Ronaldo for Manchester United’s current struggles. The Premier League legend added that there is a false narrative surrounding the Portuguese international.
Cristiano Ronaldo made a popular return to Manchester United last summer, rejoining the Red Devils after ending a two-year stint with Juventus. But the homecoming has been far from memorable, with Manchester United struggling to stay relevant in the battle for trophies.
The English giants are already out of domestic cup competitions and are nowhere near in contention for the Premier League title despite having a squad laden with high profile names. The only tournament Manchester United can win is the UEFA Champions League, which will also be a tall order.
For his part, Ronaldo is Manchester United’s top scorer this season, amassing 14 goals and three assists in 27 appearances across all competitions thus far. But as the figures suggest, he has not been at his prolific best since returning to Old Trafford.
Certain sections of media and punditry have also blamed Ronaldo for Manchester United’s struggles this season, and there is a belief that his addition has pegged the team back. But Alan Shearer, the all-time leading goalscorer in the Premier League, begs to differ. The Newcastle United legend has iterated that there is a false narrative surrounding Ronaldo.
“Ronaldo must be thinking, ‘what have I walked into….’ He is an unbelievable player — one of the greatest to have ever strode the planet — but he is also 37. He rails against being left out or being taken off because the very essence of his make-up is an unparalleled will to win and a determination never to be beaten. He wants to play every single minute of every match. Once that attitude goes, Ronaldo goes. But, of course, it also puts pressure on the manager.”
“I don’t blame Ronaldo for anything that’s going on there. He has every right to believe that if it wasn’t for him then they’d be far worse off than they are. He would be correct. Again, I have some experience of his situation. Towards the end of my career I was left out a couple of times or taken off and I can’t explain how much I hated it. Hated every second. I found it embarrassing, a humiliation. That was me. It still is.”
“Should he be more graceful at the end of matches, encouraging his team-mates? Having Ronaldo at the club should be a dream for younger players and if they’re not asking him advice and soaking it all up, then they bloody well should be. For me, it’s a false narrative. The hard questions should be asked of Manchester United’s pathetic defending, or the lack of it. Ronaldo isn’t making excuses, he’s fuming at the chaos and demanding better.”
While part of what Shearer has said does seem to ring true, there is no denying that Ronaldo’s form has also left a lot to be desired lately. The Portuguese striker is enduring his worst goal drought in 13 years, and his latest poor performance came in Manchester United’s 1-1 draw against Southampton. If the Red Devils are to regain prominence, Ronaldo’s form will hold the key for them.