Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has asserted that the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo upset the dressing room dynamic and negatively affected Bruno Fernandes, Edinson Cavani, and Harry Maguire throughout the season. The English side signed Ronaldo from Juventus in the previous summer.
Cristiano Ronaldo rejoined Manchester United for his second spell at the club in a shock transfer the previous summer. The 37-year-old has been United’s focal point in attack and has scored 24 goals across all competitions but was unable to arrest the English side’s dismal form and results this campaign.
The five-time Ballon d’Or award winner was the only source of goals during the tail end of the English side’s season and critics had issued a warning that the mercurial Portuguese’s goalscoring abilities came at the expense of the team’s ability to play as a cohesive team.
Manchester United icon Gary Neville asserted that the 37-year-old’s arrival hindered the performances of Edinson Cavani, Bruno Fernandes, and skipper Harry Maguire. The former United player highlighted the decline of Fernandes’ goalscoring numbers to show that Ronaldo’s presence on the pitch hasn’t helped his teammates and propelled them to be a better team.
"I think at the start of the season, he created a problem straight away with Cavani. He was pleaded to stay and lead the attack for the year, but when they signed Ronaldo, Cavani was shot then and finished. It upset the dynamic in the dressing room for Bruno. It made Maguire a little bit inferior as captain just naturally,” Neville said on Sky Sports’ The Overlap.
"Just his presence itself on the pitch means everyone’s looking to Cristiano with Harry trying to establish himself as United captain. Maguire looks like he’s shot to pieces when he pulls on a red shirt. Bruno looks like half the player. That’s when something has gone fundamentally wrong in the changing room, in the leadership, and I don’t think you can absolve anyone of blame. Everyone has to take blame for that,” he added.