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Teddy Sheringham Exclusive: On Ronaldo's Return

Teddy Sheringham Exclusive: On Ronaldo's Return

Ex-Manchester United star Teddy Sheringham thinks that Cristiano Ronaldo “couldn't have picked a worse season” to return to Old Trafford. The Portugal captain sensationally joined the Red Devils from Juventus on transfer deadline day last summer, but the team have not performed well despite his presence. United lie fifth in the Premier League – 23 points behind rivals and table-toppers Manchester City – and are out of both domestic cup competitions. Sheringham does not believe that the club have had a manager with the presence and authority to manage the superstar, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Michael Carrick and Ralf Rangnick all having been in the dugout so far this season.


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Bad Timing

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “[Ronaldo] couldn't have picked a worse season to come back to United. 

“He’s obviously older, he needs help without taking him off and leaving him out and embarrassing him, as such, because he’s a top player, without a doubt. 

“He’s one of the two top players over the last 10-12 years. To take him off, leave him out, it takes a strong manager to be able to talk to him, to make him understand, ‘you’re not getting any younger.’

“It’s not about the last 20 minutes of playing against Burnley, it’s about the next Champions League game, the next league game. 

“You’ve got to be a big manager to be able to do that and make him understand that he is at that age and you’ve got to look after him. 

“And Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] probably wasn’t at that stage, to be able to do that. Michael Carrick probably wasn’t, even though he’s tried to, but you don’t know whether he had that sort of respect from Ronaldo to be able to do that. 

“He’s played under a lot of top managers. Then Rangnick comes in, and who knows what he thinks of Rangnick. 

“He comes in and you want a manager to love you, you want a manager to work with you, you want him to understand you, and when you’re a top player like that it’s not the ideal situation. 

“Everyone’s pointing the finger at him, but it’s not the ideal situation for him at United.”

Ronaldo Comments Not Received Well

Sheringham also discussed Ronaldo’s impact on the United dressing room, with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner recently revealing that his comments have not always been well received by team-mates.

“[Ronaldo] wants to get every ounce out of every game, out of every minute, out of every season that he plays,” he continued. 

“He’s shown that desire over the years, that he wants to play, he wants to perform. I think he’s trying to get that across to the players. 

“He said earlier in the season that the players don’t listen to him. Young players need to be guided, they need to be shown, they need to be told what it takes to be a top player. 

“When the likes of all the youngsters coming through in my day, the Nevilles [Gary and Phil Neville] and Buttsys [Nicky Butt] and the Giggsys [Ryan Giggs], they were shown how to perform by the Pallisters [Gary Pallister] and the Bruces [Steve Bruce], the Inces [Paul Ince] and a little bit earlier than that, Brian Robson. 

“They were shown how to perform, they were shown how to be top players, and if they weren’t they were pulled up and told, ‘look, that’s not what we do here.’  

“And Ronaldo’s tried to do that and I’m not sure whether the respect level in society and in football now goes to that level. 

“I think they look at him as if to say, ‘yeah, whatever, you ain’t doing it so why should I? It doesn’t look like you’re giving 100 percent, so why should I?’

“I suppose they could be intimidated by him, but that’s down to him; he needs to behave in a way that he thinks will get the best out of the players. 

“At every stage of your career when you’re a top player, you’ve got to look at yourself and lead by example, inspire the other players. 

“Not just on the pitch and in the dressing room, but off the pitch as well; when the team go out for dinner, everything. 

“You’ve got to show leadership qualities but have a bit of compassion about you as well. It’s a strange situation. 

“When you’re on your way up to becoming a leading player, you’re focused and your desire is to get to the top, but you have to realise how other players see you. 

“These players will be trying to reach those levels and you have to understand that everyone will not be as good as you, everyone might not be as focused as you and everyone might not have the same desire. 

“Some players might have problems at home and, as the leader, you might have to get involved in that to understand the players. 

“There’s just so much that goes on in a football club on a day-to-day basis.”

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