The news of Ronaldo returning to Manchester United shook what has been the most active transfer season in football in recent years.
Nobody would have envisioned Messi and Ramos playing together. It however became a reality when they both moved to PSG, for a price any team could afford if you win a lottery; a free transfer. Mbappe at the same time was pushing for a move to Real Madrid with the team bidding $180m, which was eventually rejected by PSG.
The news that topped it all was Ronaldo’s fairytale return to Manchester United. Within a few minutes after the official announcement, the Manchester United website crashed with traffic while the social media handles were blazing. Soon after the jersey sales were topping the charts while the aura around Old Trafford and the Manchester community around the world was all jubilant. This was a dream the Manchester fans had hoped for but never thought possible.
Man, were they right to be so cheerful. Ronaldo already has four goals in three games this season. This begs the question, should they be starting to put the champagne on ice waiting for trophy celebrations to come at the end of the season?
Manchester United trophy drought
Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in world football. It has the highest number of premier league titles and the second-highest Champions league titles in England only after Liverpool. However, they seem to have lost their winning ways in recent times.
Manchester’s most recent trophy was in May 2017 after winning the Europa League with Jose Mourhino. Ever since they have come close to lifting a trophy only to end up disappointed. In the recent past, they have reached and lost four semi-finals; the Carabao Cup, FA, EFL and the Europa. While they managed to move a step further and get to the finals of the Europa League, they still lost to Seville, a team that finished 7th in La Liga.
Such losses and misses of opportunities have never been part of Manchester United’s legacy. The fans crave the joy of lifting trophies and keeping records as the best team in world football. Even worse is that their neighbours Manchester City, have become perennial winners in recent times. It is more like they have swapped places.
How best to get back to lifting trophies than through a known winner and a club legend.
Ronaldo is a known winner
Cristiano Ronaldo remains one of the most successful players in modern football. His only comparison is with the other world’s menace in the form of Messi, who remains within their own league as the world’s best footballers.
After leaving Manchester United in 2009, Ronaldo has built a reputation for being a winner. He has won an unprecedented four Champions League titles at Real Madrid, La Liga, Copa del Rey and multiple Ballon Dors. Later moving to Juventus, he won the league title and other trophies. He has also won the Euro title with the national team, Portugal.
In all of these wins, he was not only part of a team, but rather the main man. He has proven a player who never disappears when needed, instead, he rises to the occasion and helps the team, while literally giving the tears, sweat and blood. The multiple individual awards tell it all.
Combining desire and legacy
Manchester United’s only desire at the moment is to go back to the top, where they believe they belong. There’s nobody else to take them to the summit than the proven winner. From time to time, the team has shown they can have great winning runs. Last season in particular was a time the team showed capability when they finished second on the league standings. There were times when they were top of the league and the football world was buzzing.
While Ronaldo cannot win it himself for the team, he will play a crucial role. He has proven to improve those around him. There’s that confidence that comes when players understand the best player in their team. The more confident a team is, the more wins they can rake.
From the first few games, Manchester had everything to go to that one last step. The Paul Pogba that Manchester United fans have longed to see seems to be present. Even though touted as world-class, Pogba rarely gives consistent top performances in a United shirt, as he does for France. However, with seven assists from four games so far, he might have just discovered his club form. Bruno Fernandez remains one of the best transfers in the team’s recent period. August’s player of the month, Mason Greenwood, seems to never stop scoring. Harry Maguire, Fred and De Gea all seem reborn. The team has also added Varane and Sancho to their ranks, while they still have top players like Rashford and Cavani.
While May might seem a long way to come, Manchester United fans can dream a little more. Not that it will be any easy. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City still have teams who can win anything. Having Ronaldo however gives the United side an edge.
Do you believe Ronald gives Manchester that edge they have lacked in recent times?
An official Guinness Fan Zone is coming to Manchester for the Six Nations
One of the biggest Guinness Fan Zones in the UK is coming to Manchester city centre for the Six Nations this February and the best part of all is, it’s absolutely free.
With the beloved rugby union tournament kicking off on Saturday, 4 February, Guinness are bringing their popular fan zone to our lovely city and just in time for the Wales vs Ireland game, not to mention England vs Scotland later the same day.
Popping up on Baring Street, Mayfield, just round the corner from Piccadilly Station, the Six Nations fan zone will be the biggest outside of London and runs all the way until Saturday 18 March.
Transformed into a dedicated space for rugby lovers to watch the match and enjoy a fresh pint of ice-cold Guinness, the fan zone festivities don’t stop there.
To keep the party rolling, they will also be hosting a series of interactive shows, activities and live performances, including bagpipes, Irish dancers and more. There’s even an interactive beer wall – the first one to be available outside of rugby union’s historic home at Twickenham.
Once again, general admissions tickets to the fan zone are absolutely free, but you can bag yourself a table reservation for £10 per person. Better still, for super fans, you can even grab an exclusive Season Pass for a limited time only, granting you access to all five games in the competition.
This includes a special edition team jersey, access to the best seats in the house and the first 150 customers will also get a Guinness Six Nations tote bag filled with beanies, cushions and foam fingers, even temporary tattoos and face paints for you to get your full colours on.
Last but not least, those who do grab a Season Pass will also be in with a chance to win one of Guinness’ exclusive ‘Money Can’t Buy Experiences‘, this year’s main prize being four tickets to a Six Nations match, a dressing room tour and being trusted with flag bearer duty before kick-off. Mint.
Russian supporters waving Putin flags and wearing ‘Z’ war symbols questioned by police at Australian Open
A number of Russian supporters attending the Australian Open were spotted waving pro-Putin flags and wearing ‘Z’ war symbols during Novak Djokovic’s match on Wednesday evening.
Spotted in the crowd whilst watching Djokovic’s quarter-final tie against Russian tennis player Andrey Rublev, the group of fans cheering on Rublev are now said to have been questioned by local police following the stunt as a further investigation is expected to be carried out.
The nine-time tournament winner might have seen off the world number six seed in straight sets to progress to the penultimate round of the major, but the controversy that the pro-war display has caused is understandably all anyone can focus on.
You can see a significant number of Russian fans chanting “Putin!” with their flags in the stands below, as well as another man clearly flaunting the ‘Z’ symbol — synonymous with the invasion of Ukraine.
According to a statement issued by Tennis Australia, four men were questioned by local authorities in Melbourne after they revealed their pro-Putin emblems and reportedly threatened security guards inside the Rod Laver Arena then they were asked to remove them.
Victoria Police have now confirmed that while charges were made, the group of supporters were quickly ejected, with Australian Open organisers reassuring that they will “continue to work closely with event security and law enforcement agencies.”
To make matters worse, Djokovic’s father, Srđan, was later seen posing with what appears to be the same group of fans and images of Vladimir Putin outside the stadium.
The Serbian has not long put his own controversy behind him after being deported from the country due to covid regulations and his anti-vax stance last year. This surely won’t help.
The Russian invasion has been an ongoing issue at the Open, with Russian and Belarusian players now having to compete under a neutral flag.
This comes after spectators had initially been allowed to bring any flag into the arena with them. However, following the incident, certain Russian flags are now prohibited and security guards have been provided with pamphlets in order for them to check for approved national emblems.
Elsewhere, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy was both surprised and relieved to find out that Germany has confirmed they will be sending Leopard 2 tanks to bolster his country’s defences, which he only learned whilst in the middle of an interview with Sky News’ Kay Burley.
We are now approaching a year since the Russian invasion began, with Putin’s campaign having run for 11 months and 3 days.