Leonardo Bonucci warns Man Utd over Cristiano Ronaldo’s negative influence


Leonardo Bonucci warns Man Utd stars over Cristiano Ronaldo's negative impact on training

The Portuguese’s presence caused other players to become complacent (Pictures: Getty)

Leonardo Bonucci has sounded a warning to Manchester United that they cannot fall into the trap of thinking Cristiano Ronaldo can win games on his own, revealing that Juventus’ performances dipped as a result of that mindset.

The Portuguese superstar swapped Turin for Old Trafford over the summer and has made an instant impact, netting four goals in as many games, though United’s form has tailed off more recently.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side lost to Young Boys in the Champions League despite Ronaldo putting them ahead, while they were dumped out of the Carabao Cup against West Ham – a game he was rested for – and lost to Aston Villa at the weekend.

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against Newcastle

Ronaldo has looked impressive since returning to United (Picture: AP)

A host of United legends, and Solskjaer himself, have spoken of how Ronaldo’s mere presence alone will elevate the standards at the club, with Lee Grant even revealing that the players declined to eat any dessert on the eve of the 36-year-old’s debut after he opted for a healthy salad.

But Bonucci has issued a note of caution regarding the effect Ronaldo can have on the rest of the team, saying that Juventus became too reliant on the five-time Ballon d’Or winner and let their standards in training and matches slip.

Asked if signing Ronaldo meant some Juve players got complacent, Bonucci told The Athletic: ‘This was the thing. The idea that one player, even the best in the world, could guarantee Juventus victory.

‘Cristiano’s presence had a big influence on us. Just training with him gave us something extra but subconsciously players started to think his presence alone was enough to win games.

‘We began to fall a little short in our daily work, the humility, the sacrifice, the desire to be there for your teammate day after day. Over the last few years, I think you could see that.

‘Last season, we finished fourth and won the Coppa Italia because we became a team again.

‘If you had thrown a piece of wood in the dressing room before those games it would have caught fire such was the electricity running through it. We missed that.

Leonardo Bonucci warns Man Utd stars over Cristiano Ronaldo's negative influence

Ronaldo’s greatness led to other players taking their eye of the ball (Picture: Getty)

‘Maybe it was taken for granted that if we gave the ball to Cristiano he’d win us the game.

‘But Cristiano needed the team as much as we needed him. There had to be a trade-off because it’s the team that lifts the individual even if the individual is the best player on the planet.’

After a decade-long dominance of Serie A, Juventus only finished fourth last season as Inter finally ended the Old Lady’s stranglehold. They have not fared much better since Ronaldo’s exit, though, and currently sit tenth in the table with two wins from their first six games.


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Cristiano Ronaldo ‘wants to retire at Man Utd’ before staying on to coach son


MORE : Ole Gunnar Solskjaer responds to calls for Cristiano Ronaldo to take Manchester United’s penalties after Bruno Fernandes’ miss

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