Manchester United have been branded as “embarrassing” by Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher after the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer – with the Sky Sports pundit criticising the club for buying him in “a panic” back in August.
Ronaldo joined United from Juventus in August 2021 to end a 13-year hiatus from the club. He has fared well in terms of goals this season by scoring 21 times in 35 games for Ralf Rangnick’s men, with a hat-trick against Norwich in his last match.
But the Portugal hero has failed to drag his team-mates over the line despite his goals, and was criticised for his performances in games against Leicester and Everton recently. Despite this, Carragher still believes he has been one of United’s best players in an admittedly poor side that continues to falter in the Premier League.
And Carragher believes that is a telling sign for United’s current predicament, with the former Liverpool player branding the decision to sign him a “joke”. “When you watch Ronaldo and United’s outfield players, he’s still been one of the best – if not the best,” Carragher said in conversation with Roy Keane for LADBible TV.
“He’s the one who’s had four or five moments where you go ‘wow’. For Ronaldo to be playing at one of the top European clubs at 37, it’s unbelievable. For United to buy Ronaldo, I thought it was a joke.
“It was either a panic because they thought they’d get Ronaldo – whether they were kidded by all the social media stuff, fans at the first game, I thought it was a bit embarrassing.” Former United captain Roy Keane disagreed on the matter, however, labelling the decision to resign his old team-mate the right one – albeit acknowledging it was a panic buy.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? I still think it was worth the gamble,” Keane said. “The bigger picture, he’s not a great signing because of his age and what have you. I still think he can bring something to the party, and I think he has. What’s gone on around him hasn’t been good enough.
“I think he could have shown more leadership skills, he’s been left out and hasn’t played all the games, but he’s still showed moments. The Tottenham game, some of the European games, it was worth the gamble. It was a panic, it was a panic.”
Ronaldo spent six seasons at United in his first spell at the club from 2003 to 2009, winning three Premier League titles, a Champions League and a Ballon d’Or at Old Trafford.
A move to Real Madrid ensued, where he spent nine years before moving to Juventus in 2018, then returning to Manchester three years later. United fans will be hoping he can continue to produce the goals if they are to become a major force in football once again.