Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that it was “wrong” for Manchester United to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer of 2021.
Ronaldo was believed to have been on the verge of joining Manchester City from Juventus in the final stages of the transfer window two years ago, before Manchester United stepped in to bring him back to Old Trafford.
The Portugal international scored 24 goals in his first season with the Red Devils, including 18 in the Premier League, but he only played for a short while under Solskjaer, who was sacked in November 2021.
The ex-Red Devils head coach has said that the decision to bring Ronaldo back for a second spell “felt so right”, but it turned out to be ‘the wrong decision’.
“It was a decision that was very difficult to turn down and I felt we had to take it, but it turned out wrong,” Solskjaer told The Athletic.
“It felt so right when he signed and the fans felt that at that Newcastle game, when Old Trafford was rocking. He was still one of the best goalscorers in the world, he was looking strong.”
Ronaldo only managed three goals in 16 appearances for Man United during the first half of the 2022-23 campaign before he had his contract terminated due to his explosive interview with Piers Morgan.
The Portuguese made the move to Al-Nassr at the start of 2023, and he has managed 27 goals in 32 appearances for the Saudi Pro League side, while he remains a key player for Portugal.
Ronaldo’s second spell at Old Trafford came to an end with a record of 27 goals in 54 appearances, following on from the 118 goals that he managed during his first spell at the club between 2003 and 2009.
Solskjaer also hit out at some players in the Man United squad for having an inflated view of their own ability.
“They weren’t as good as their own perception of themselves,” he added. “I won’t name names, but I was very disappointed when a couple turned down the chance to be captain. I was also disappointed when others said they wouldn’t play or train because they wanted to force their way out.”
Man United have made a poor start to this season, meanwhile, losing three of their opening five matches of the Premier League campaign.
Head coach Erik ten Hag is said to be in danger of losing the dressing room at the club unless he is able to oversee a change of fortunes, starting with Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich.