Phil Thompson: United insiders won’t shed a tear if Cristiano Ronaldo leaves

More big opinions from the big man exclusively here at Paddy Power News.


Cristiano Ronaldo’s career has been quite astonishing, even last season at Man United his numbers were great. But does he help them as a team?

I would think not.

This is the harsh thing; I’m looking at what impact he has had in the dressing room, and this is what Erik ten Hag has to look at. Ten Hag will be thinking ‘Is he going to give us a nice tight bond in the dressing room?’ Paul Pogba has gone, I think he was a divisive influence in there – is Ronaldo that sort?


I was hearing stories of him not being happy with training under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and you don’t want a disaffected player going into the new season. If there is a deal for him to go somewhere else, I would not think there are a lot of tears being shed at Man United.

I think as a group, it will probably help them – I know this will be hard for a lot of United fans to listen to, but you have to think; team always comes first.

Erik Ten Hag

Other clubs will always be interested in Ronaldo

There will be interest in signing Ronaldo, people will see his numbers and know he still scores goals, but managers and owners will be talking to other players too. They’ll ask ‘What is going on inside that dressing room with Ronaldo? How has it affected on-field performance besides his goals?’

Yes, people will always say ‘But he scores goals!’ but it’s also the influence on the team and it didn’t go well for Man United as a team last season. Other clubs will be interested in the Premier League and abroad – and to get a year or two out of Cristiano Ronaldo, people will take that chance.

Good discipline comes first

At Liverpool, we had Nicolas Anelka on loan when I was with Gerard Houllier as assistant manager. He was quite good on loan, but Houllier got a phone call from Arsene Wenger and said his brothers, who were also his agents, were working behind the scenes to try and get Anelka back to Arsenal.

We couldn’t have that because we were all about good discipline – so it was a big shock to us. The likes of Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard said to us that it was a big mistake not to sign him permanently, but there was other stuff going on behind the scenes that informed our decisions.

It does come down to dressing room influence, and we thought for the good of the club we had to turn down that opportunity to sign him.

Sterling could be worth his weight in gold for Chelsea

Raheem Sterling’s numbers were great for Manchester City, but he seemed to fall out of favour with Pep Guardiola. I think it would’ve hurt his pride, not getting picked in those Champions League games, and he must be thinking ‘I’m bigger that this’.

I think with the opportunity to go back to West London – Liverpool did sign him from QPR – I think it is a similar case to Liverpool and Sadio Mane, if the players don’t want to be there, and as long as it suits everybody, let’s do the deal.

Thomas Tuchel Chelsea

City’s loss is Chelsea’s gain

Will it diminish City’s chances? I’m going to have to say yes – I know Erling Haaland’s been a fantastic signing for them but let’s not get away from the fact that with Haaland and Darwin Nunez [at Liverpool] in the Premier League, you don’t know what they’re going to be like.

At least Chelsea know what they’re getting. He has fantastic numbers at City, they’ll be losing that and it’s Chelsea’s gain.

I think a lot of this move has a lot to do with England. He became an important player for England when he was playing regularly for Man City. But when he’s on the bench he might be thinking ‘I might be shot for this World Cup and I want to be playing regularly for England’.

Maybe even he sees himself being eased out by some of the younger players, dare I say it. I think he wants this move to help his international exploits with an eye on the World Cup. Playing for England has had a massive say in this.


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