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Former Arsenal Boss Arsene Wenger Calls Ronaldo Signing 'Not 100% Rational'

Arsene Wenger
© Sputnik / Alexey Filippov

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes emotion got the best of Manchester United with their signing of Cristiano Ronaldo. Wenger voiced concerns over the challenge of fitting the superstar into the squad.

Longtime Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Manchester United’s signing of Cristiano Ronaldo was “not 100% rational.”

During an appearance on German-outlet Bild Live, Wenger gave his thoughts on the Portuguese superstar’s return to the Premier League, saying “this is a love story that you want to see.” While Wenger understood the emotional desire for Manchester United to bring back one of their most storied players, he also gave warning that Ronaldo was signed “for more than just sporting reasons,” and that “finding a balance in the team is a big challenge.” 

Wenger’s skepticism over Ronaldo’s fit at United is not without warrant. The player that debuted for United in 2003 is a far different player than the one United is getting now. As Ronaldo has aged, he has gone from an out-and-out winger to a striker who likes to drift wide.

His days of tracking back on defense are long gone and he joins a crowded yet incredibly talented cast of attacking options. Which combination of Ronaldo, Edison Cavani, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Jadon Sancho, and, when healthy, Marcus Rashford, will United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer line up with? Even with these concerns, Wenger had to admit that he still expects Ronaldo to score a bushel of goals.

Cristiano Ronaldo, playing for Manchester United

Wenger knows better than most the galvanizing effect Ronaldo can have on a club. When Ronaldo first debuted for United, in the 2003-04 campaign, the club finished third in the Premier League with 75 points, while Wenger was busy leading Arsenal to the league title and an invincible season.

From that moment on, Arsenal and United’s fortunes would flip. With Ronaldo in Manchester, United earned more points each subsequent season, culminating in three consecutive Premier League titles from 2006-07 to 2008-09. Meanwhile, the 2003-04 season is the last Premier League trophy Wenger and Arsenal would claim. Wenger may be right about emotion getting the best of United, or, perhaps he just got caught up in the emotion of Ronaldo getting the best of him.

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