Cristiano Ronaldo may regret deciding to move back to Manchester United, according to former Netherlands and Milan legend Ruud Gullit, who also accused the club of “living in the past”.
Ronaldo returned to United in 2021 from Juventus, scoring 24 goals in 38 games in all competitions for the Red Devils.
However, despite the presence of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, United did not win a trophy, being eliminated from the Champions League last 16 by Atletico Madrid and finishing sixth in the Premier League.
Ronaldo has reportedly expressed his desire to leave Old Trafford due to a lack of Champions League football, but United have not shown any sign of allowing the Portugal international to move.
Speaking to Laureus, Gullit stated his belief that the 37-year-old will be eager to show his best at the World Cup in Qatar later this year, but that he might be regretting his decision to go back to United.
“Ronaldo with Portugal, can he still do it?… I think he is eager to show the world how good he is,” Gullit said. “That’s my feeling. This guy has unbelievable mental strength.
“He doesn’t say it, but I think he regrets the fact that he came back to Man United because of the team that was there. I think he hoped that it was better, so he wants to show everybody who criticised him what he’s worth. I think he’s on a mission.
Gullit also had words of advice for Erik ten Hag. His fellow Dutchman took over as manager of United at the end of last season, and did not get off to the best start as his new team lost 2-1 at home to Brighton and Hove Albion in their opening game of the Premier League campaign last week.
“Ten Hag, I think he is a good coach, but if you come with a Dutch mentality only to come to England, it’s difficult,” he said. “You have to adapt yourself, you have to understand that you don’t win games only with football, you need power as well. You need power, you need technique. You need stamina and the right mentality.
“That’s why we love the Premier League. There is no easy games, and that is what you need to understand.”
1 – Erik ten Hag is the first Manchester United manager to lose his first Premier League game in charge since Louis van Gaal in August 2014 against Swansea City. Setback. pic.twitter.com/hOXpr8wRdm
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 7, 2022
Gullit – who himself managed Chelsea and Newcastle United during his days in the Premier League – also accused United of “living in the past”, adding: “I think that there’s a lot of problems at Man United.
“I think they live too much in the past,” he said. “They talk about the 90s team too much. That’s the past.
“If you see teams that played football that [United] now want to play, but are too late. [Manchester City manager] Pep Guardiola did it, [Liverpool manager Jurgen] Klopp did it, [Chelsea manager Thomas] Tuchel did it. And [United] were hanging in the past, [Louis] Van Gaal and [Jose] Mourinho as well. Great coaches, but there’s a new era. There is a new way of playing, and that’s the reason why they stood behind.
“I think they also they sacked Mourinho too early [in 2018]. I think because he still had a trophy when he was there with players that were not that good.
“The thing is also, nowadays, players want to go to different teams. They want to go to Liverpool, they want to go to City, they want to go to Chelsea. [United] are not the main team any more in England, as they were with [Sir Alex] Ferguson. That’s the past.
“So you need to change your mentality a little bit and it will take some time.
“Plus, they have five ex-players who every day talk about Manchester United. It’s difficult, and the only way you can overcome that is to win. And if you don’t, every day, you’re going to see the newspapers, the first five, six articles all about Man United, every day. It’s difficult.”
Gullit also took time to praise the work of former Milan striker, Ukraine international and Laureus Ambassador Andriy Shevchenko, who has been working with Laureus to help refugee programmes in Eastern Europe following the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“It’s incredibly difficult for me to imagine what Andriy Shevchenko and his family have gone through over the past six months. I was delighted to see Andriy visiting a refugee project in Warsaw, which is helping Ukrainians to rebuild their lives away from the horrors of war,” he said.
“Nelson Mandela, a man I have a huge amount of respect for and a man I dedicated my Ballon d’Or to in 1987, spoke at the first Laureus Awards and said ‘Sport can create hope where once there was only despair’.
“Watching footage from Andriy’s visit with Laureus Sport for Good in Warsaw reminded me of Mandela’s words, but also of the incredible power sport can have to change lives. What Andriy and Laureus are doing to make a difference shows the power of sport around the world.”
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