Over the summer, it was rumored that Cristiano Ronaldo was a disruptive dressing room influence at Manchester United, but stories relayed by several of his colleagues suggest that this is not the case.
Manchester United had their worst Premier League season in decades last season, and it was evident that the dressing room was shattered, with certain players concerned about Harry Maguire’s status as captain.
Maguire was a consistent starter throughout the season, and some were surprised he hadn’t been benched. There were also claims made in the locker room concerning Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored 24 goals last season, making him the club’s leading goalscorer by a long shot, with it being stated that Ronaldo was a disruptive influence and was having a bad effect.
However, it appeared that Ronaldo was keeping the dressing room together. On the pitch, he was a talisman, and his leadership was required to keep the already poor standards from falling much lower.
When the writing was on the wall for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Ronaldo pleaded with the dressing room to show him support, according to sources, and it’s claimed he remained a major leader during Ralf Rangnick’s rule, repelling seeds of dissension.
That is not to imply Ronaldo is without flaws. There were instances of Ronaldo marching straight down the tunnel following defeats, and his reaction to being substituted in the win against Brentford in January was far from respectable, but others excused that reaction by sympathizing with a five-time Ballon d’Or winner reduced to public failure. Regardless, it was not a nice appearance.
Although Rangnick said that he did not blame Ronaldo for his reaction after the game, he did say that he was ‘too emotional,’ but perhaps the dressing room would be a better place if all of the players cared as much as Ronaldo does.
When he was on the field, Ronaldo certainly set a good example. He ensured United’s passage to the Champions League group stage on his own, and the club’s Premier League finish would have been lower than sixth without him.
He stated his wish to quit the club this summer, which did not endear him to supporters, and he only returned to Carrington in the last week of July. He did not, however, give his critics what they wanted when he finally reported for pre-season, as he continued to train in an exceptional manner.
It was said that the atmosphere around Carrington was as though nothing had happened. If that is the case, it is a testament to Ronaldo’s demeanor following his return to training, as he is the club’s greatest personality and has the ability to alter the mood if he so desires.
Ronaldo desired to go until the transfer deadline, but this was not evident in training. He maintained a positive impact, and it’s been said that the club’s academy players admire the forward when given the opportunity to train with him.
The 37-year-old has embraced his role as someone Carrington’s young people naturally idolize, which does not reflect the temperament of the man some accuse him of being.
Ronaldo has been accused of being a destructive influence in the locker room, but evidence to the contrary has emerged this week. Brandon Williams and Martin Dubravka have both lauded Ronaldo in different interviews.
Williams’ interview with The Sportsman was remarkable because it appeared like the full-back was speaking honestly and without consideration for his media training. He was asked about Ronaldo, and his responses were predictable.
Williams recounted an incident in which he claimed to be the finest dresser in an interview, which was brought to Ronaldo’s attention. Ronaldo mocked Williams’ assertion, asking, “You’re the best dresser? But you come to work every day in your tracksuit.”
That may sound like a trivial exchange, but the fact that Williams recalls it demonstrates how Ronaldo is regarded in the locker room. “I wasn’t there when he initially came back, but since I’ve come back, he’s been a tremendous impact,” Williams said of his character. “He’s always talking to me,” he explained. “He makes certain that no one is left out. He simply talks to everyone.
“He isn’t saying, ‘I’m the superstar here, I’m not going to talk to anyone.'” He provides me with counsel. He speaks to me. He’s playing a joke on me. It’s all really normal. When you have a footballer colleague because, at the end of the day, he’s a colleague of mine.”
If Williams’ assessment wasn’t enough, goalkeeper Dubravka also praised Ronaldo. “I’m incredibly delighted to be in the locker room among such stars,” Dubravka told Sport. Each of the names has a high level of quality.
“Aside from Scott McTominay and Tom Heaton, who are right next to me in the dressing room, I’ve probably had the most conversation with him [Ronaldo] all day.” We had the opportunity to speak with each other before and after training in the gym.”
It has been debated, but those interviews indicate that Ronaldo is not a disruptive influence in the locker room. Some people in the locker room may disagree, but that is to be anticipated in any working setting or sector.
Although he may not play as frequently this season, Ronaldo’s leadership qualities ensure that he remains a key asset to the club.