Cristiano Ronaldo's "complicated" relationship with Manchester United is among the iconic chapters of English football history. The abrupt finish to his second stint at the Theatre of Dreams following a fallout with gaffer Erik Ten Hag even led to ardent fans to reconsider his stature as a club legend.
Meanwhile, former Manchester United star Anderson backed Cristiano Ronaldo over the controversial exit saga and opinioned that the club should have protected the forward. The Brazilian midfielder who played at Old Trafford from 2007 to 2015 said United miss a clinical finisher like Ronaldo. While opposition teams are still intimidated by the presence of Ronaldo, the same cannot be said about the current Manchester United squad.
"When Cristiano came back... man, it's Cristiano Ronaldo. Protect him. Out of three chances, he will make two, that's a fact. And whoever plays against him is afraid. And today nobody is afraid of playing against Manchester. They know that Manchester is taking beatings after beatings,” Anderson was quoted as saying by Goal.com.
Anderson, who reportedly once shared a house with Ronaldo in England, also used the opportunity to hit back at those who downplay the Portugal captain's goal tally for Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League. “Today Cristiano has 50 goals. ‘Ah, but it's in Saudi Arabia’, but he has 50 goals! Ronaldo arrived at a time when Manchester was under construction, and he scored 25 goals. And then he left," the report quoted him as saying.
18 months after a shocking "homecoming", Cristiano Ronaldo left United "by mutual agreement with immediate effect." It came after the footballer made explosive statements in an interview with Piers Morgan about the club's owners and how he "doesn't respect" Erik ten Hag.
The statement by the club added: "The club thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family well for the future. Everyone at Manchester United remains focused on continuing the team's progress under Erik ten Hag and working together to deliver success on the pitch."