Former striker Paolo Di Canio explains why he has doubts about Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United.
The Portuguese striker made his return to Old Trafford in a €15m move from Juventus. The Red Devils can pay up to €8m in bonuses.
The Portuguese star scored 101 goals in 134 games with Juventus but pushed to leave the Bianconeri during the summer transfer window.
He eventually left Turin last week, one day before Juventus’ Serie A game against Empoli, which they eventually lost 1-0.
Despite the enthusiasm of the majority of Manchester United fans, former Italian striker Paolo Di Canio is unsure about Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford.
“I am one of those looking at this move and thinking: ‘He is back where he began his incredible career.’ He has grown as a man and as a footballer in Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man United,” the 53-year-old told La Gazzetta dello Sport’s podcast In The Box.
“However, I need to consider everything. It’s a great move for merchandising, for Ronaldo and Manchester United’s visibility, even if they don’t really need it. Individually, Ronaldo’s last season at Juventus was great, he scored 30 goals, but a champion needs to win the trophies.
“Man United is the best team for him because everybody loves him at the club. The fans don’t look at his age, he is a club’s icon. It’s an investment for the moment. I saw [Ole Gunnar] Solskjær and he was as happy as a kid, but he’ll have to manage him,” he continued.
“Ronaldo will improve United’s technical level, but he joins a team with many strikers and wingers. Solskjær said he sees him as a centre forward, but Ronaldo didn’t want to do it at Juventus.
“I still see him starting on the left, but United have other players in the same position, including Jadon Sancho, who was paid €85m but has been struggling to settle in so far.
“Rashford will return, Greenwood and Martial too. Solskjær leaves his strikers free up front, so this could be good for Ronaldo.
“There is enthusiasm, but it remains to be seen if Ronaldo will be a cumbersome presence as Zlatan was. Sometimes young players without much personality didn’t understand he wanted the best from them.”
On Wednesday, Ronaldo scored a brace against Ireland, becoming the all-time best scorer at an international level with 111 goals, two clear of Iran legend Ali Daei.
During his first interview with Manchester United’s official website, the 36-year-old said that returning to Manchester United was ‘the best choice’ he could make.