Manchester United fans love him, but Cristiano Ronaldo is trying to change clubs.  (Photo: Ed Sykes/Reuters)

Surely the French philosopher Émile Boirac knew little or nothing about football. But the concept of deja vuwhich he proposed in 1917 in his book “L’Avenir des sciences psychiques”, seems to be quite useful to describe the days that Cristiano Ronaldo is going through, who again, as happened to him a year ago when he played for Juventus, starts the season this weekend waging an underground battle, now with the leadership of Manchester United, to change clubs. This time, the lack of convincing offers and the proximity of the World Cup in Qatar complicate the picture. With 25 days ahead in which the pass market will remain open in Europe, the end of this bid is still uncertain.

In broad strokes, the game seems clearly raised. The Portuguese wants to leave the institution to which he arrived on August 27 last year and in which it had already had a first cycle between 2003 and 2009, but it does not make it public. The leadership of United and the new coach, the Dutch Erik ten HagThey want him to stay. Or, at least, that is what they verbalize. For the dispute to tilt in favor of the footballer, a third actor would have to come into play: a club that wanted him and was capable of meeting his demands. There lies the crux of the matter at this time.

Although the contract for two seasons that CR7 signed when arriving at the Red Devils remains kept under seven keys, the British press reported that the footballer’s salary amounted to 25 million pounds ($30.2 million) per year. There are not many clubs that can afford such an outlay for a 37-year-old footballer, no matter how many Cristiano and Ronaldo he carries on his identity document. However, not everything is money. In fact, the striker rejected these days a $253 million offer to play in Saudi Arabia.

Manchester United fans love him, but Cristiano Ronaldo is trying to change clubs. (Photo: Ed Sykes/Reuters)

Cristiano wants to arrive in optimal conditions to play his fifth (and last?) World Cup. For that, he intends to perform during the coming months in a European club that has highly demanding challenges ahead of him. Among them, the Champions League. If he stays at Manchester United, he won’t play it. It would be the first time in 20 years that he would not participate in the tournament that has him as the top scorer in history (he has 140 goals).

If United will not play the Champions League this season it will be as a result of their very weak 2021/22 campaign, in which they were eliminated in the round of 16 of the continental tournament, finished sixth in the Premier League (35 points behind the champion, Manchester City ) and capitulated in the round of 16 of both the FA Cup and the League Cup. That lack of competitiveness annoyed the ultra-competitive CR7, who was the team’s top scorer (he made 18 in the Premier League and 6 in the Champions), but he did not have dazzling performances. It is clear that his companions did not help him too much.

After that poor campaign, a strong renovation was expected on the campus. The departures were many (Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata, among others), but the reinforcements, very few: just Lisandro Martínez, the Danish Christian Eriksen and the Dutch Tyrell Malacia. With that endowment, it seems difficult to compete with Liverpool or Manchester City.

Erik ten Hag and Cristiano Ronaldo, a relationship that does not finish flowing.  (Photo: Ed Sykes/Reuters)

Erik ten Hag and Cristiano Ronaldo, a relationship that does not finish flowing. (Photo: Ed Sykes/Reuters)

This and the arrival of Ten Hag, who does not seem to have the ideal chemistry with, they finished convincing Cristiano that the best option was to leave. But so far Jorge Mendes, his skillful representative, has not found the Cinderella on whose foot this shoe fits. There was speculation with Chelsea and Bayern Munich as possible destinations, then the chance of Atlético de Madrid was fired. For now, nothing concrete, although time is not pressing yet: the transfer market in the major leagues in Europe will continue to be open until the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the Portuguese trains with the United squad after missing the tour that his companions made in Thailand and Australia in July for personal reasons. On Sunday he participated in his first friendly in this new cycle: he played 45 minutes in the 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford. It was his first appearance since May 7, when his team lost 4-0 to Brighton & Hove Albion for matchday 36 of the last edition of the Premier League.

A while after the friendly against Rayo, Cristiano shared a message on his accounts on the different social networks. “Happy to be back!”, it said, next to an image of the party. The day before, he had posted a photo of himself smiling and accompanied by juniors Charlie McNeill, Hannibal Mejbri, Willy Kambwala and Charlie Savage. “Work in progress”, was the text that complemented it.

However, his attitude on the day of the meeting with the Spanish team did not generate smiles: the Portuguese, who played only the first half, left the stadium along with some players while others of his teammates were still playing the second period. “I told them it was unacceptable. We are a team and we have to stay until the end.” Teg Hag told Wednesday in an interview with the Dutch network Viaplay Sport Nederland.

That rudeness seemed to tighten the rope to the maximum, but this Friday the coach did the impossible to lower the foam and assured that the reprimand had not had the emblem of the campus as the only recipient. “There were many players who left (the stadium), but the focus is on Cristiano and that’s not fair”, he claimed. He also tried to chase away the ghosts of a sale: “We planned the season with him and now he is working very well. We have a top striker and I am very happy that he is here”.

For now, and despite his little activity during the preseason, the Portuguese could add minutes in United’s debut in the Premier League against Brighton & Hove on Sunday at Old Trafford. could even be the owner, since the Frenchman Anthony Martial will not play due to a muscle injury and Teg Hag does not have many options in attack. None of this would extinguish the chance of a transfer in the coming days.

In fact, CR7’s movements, words and silences these days were almost a carbon copy of those that preceded his goodbye to Juventus. On August 20, 2021, while there was speculation about a move to Real Madrid, Manchester United or Paris Saint-Germain, he posted a photo on his Instagram account in which he posed at the training ground of the juve Along with Federico Chiesa and the youthful Nicolò Fagioli, at the time his teammates. “Cristiano told me that he is staying. On his part, there was never a will to leave, ”assured coach Massimiliano Allegri that day.

Twenty-four hours later, Cristiano played a handful of minutes in the game that old lady he tied 2-2 with Udinese for the first date of Serie A. Five days later, he announced his departure to United. “We have written quite a beautiful story together. I will always be one of you. Now they are part of my history as I feel that I am part of yours, “he wrote to say goodbye. Perhaps in the next few days it will be your turn to publish a similar text. “A déjà-vu”, Émile Boirac would say if he were alive and interested in European football.

Shoot Cristiano

Beyond the fact that his 20-year professional career in the elite of world football has allowed him to generate a shell to tolerate grievances, Cristiano Ronaldo had to endure an unusual number of attacks through social networks during the last season at Manchester United, more than any other player in the Premier League.

On Tuesday, the Office of Communications (Ofcom), the UK’s broadcasting, telecommunications and mail services regulator, released a report into Twitter harassment of players playing in the UK. English league teams during the first half of the 2021/22 season.

In England, not everyone professes admiration and respect for Cristiano Ronaldo.  (Photo: Ed Sykes/Reuters)

In England, not everyone professes admiration and respect for Cristiano Ronaldo. (Photo: Ed Sykes/Reuters)

According to that study, 418 of the 618 soccer players whose accounts were analyzed had received at least one insulting message. Of the 2.3 million tweets directed at top division players during the first five months of the season, nearly 60,000 were insulting. Half of those 60,000 messages targeted 12 footballers, eight of them from Manchester United.

Cristiano Ronaldo appeared on the highest step of the podium of the attacked (received 12,520 aggressive messages), followed by teammates Harry Maguire (8,954) and Marcus Rashford (2,557). According to the Ofcom report, the peak of offenses against the Portuguese occurred on August 27, when his return to England was announced. That day 188,769 tweets were generated (three times more than any other day), of which 3,961 included insults to the striker.

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