Cristiano Ronaldo has now seen four managers depart in four seasons

Cristiano Ronaldo was blamed by Max Allegri for holding Juventus back and he couldn’t stand Maurizio Sarri… even though he wanted Andrea Pirlo and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to succeed the Man United star has now seen FOUR managers depart in four seasons

  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked by Man United after a dismal run of results
  • It means Cristiano Ronaldo has now seen four managers go in four seasons
  • At Juventus, Massimiliano Allegri left after he claimed Ronaldo was a problem
  • Ronaldo never saw eye-to-eye with his underwhelming successor Maurizio Sarri 
  • There was mutual respect with Andrea Pirlo but Juventus sunk down the table
  • And despite Ronaldo’s magic, he couldn’t save Solskjaer’s position at United 

For the fourth season running, Cristiano Ronaldo has been at a club where the manager has either left or been sacked.

If this had happened once or twice, you’d think it was merely a coincidence. But a pattern is starting to emerge and it could well be that Ronaldo is actually the problem.

The Portuguese star’s match-winning abilities are well known. Even aged 36, Ronaldo has shown several times already at Manchester United that he can still bend a game to his will.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s (left) sacking over the weekend means Cristiano Ronaldo (right) has now seen four managers go in the past four seasons 

Ronaldo expresses his frustration to compatriot Bruno Fernandes during the defeat at Watford

But does his superstar status and influence over a dressing room make it so much more difficult for a manager to do their job?

Is Ronaldo too sulky when he doesn’t get his way, leading to friction with those trying to manage him?

We examine what happened with each of those four bosses and Ronaldo’s role in their departure.

Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus)

Allegri’s trophy-laden five year first spell with Juventus and Ronaldo’s stint with the club only overlapped for one season.

On the surface of it, with Ronaldo scoring 28 goals during his first season in Italian football and winning the Scudetto, it seemed like a good match.

But by the end of that campaign, it boiled down to a simple ultimatum for the manager – either Ronaldo goes, or I do.

Earlier this year, Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported that Allegri sat down with Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli and encouraged the club to move Ronaldo on even after just one season.

Juventus boss Max Allegri (right) came to the conclusion that Ronaldo was holding them back

Allegri believed his presence was stalling the growth of the team and blocking the pathway of young players to regular game time.

There was some truth to this – Ronaldo started 30 of the 32 Serie A matches he was fit and available for that season. He also started nine of Juve’s 10 Champions League matches prior to being stunned by Ajax in the quarter-final.

As a £100million megastar signing, not only did Juventus fans want to see Ronaldo in action each week, the club’s hierarchy would expect maximum returns from their expensive outlay on him.

Allegri felt in the long-term, Ronaldo’s presence was damaging but Agnelli disagreed with him and it was the coach who had to hit the highway despite his consistent success.

Ronaldo’s first season in Italy was a successful one but ultimately Allegri had to depart

It came after a year in which Ronaldo criticism of Allegri’s tactics bubbled away beneath the surface. The Portuguese was reportedly not happy with a negative approach and some of the team selections.

One report suggested that Ronaldo had demanded a complete squad overhaul in the summer of 2019 so they didn’t fail in the Champions League again.

But it wasn’t an overhaul Allegri would oversee and when he returned to Juventus earlier this year for a second spell, Ronaldo didn’t exactly hang around.

Ronaldo didn’t hang around for too long when Allegri returns to Juventus earlier this year

Maurizio Sarri (Juventus)

If Ronaldo thought his time at Juventus was about to get better following Allegri’s departure, he was sorely mistaken. The friction between him and Maurizio Sarri was palpable from the outset.

There were suggestions that Ronaldo was less than impressed that Sarri, who’d just come from Chelsea, was even given the job.

In November, when Sarri hauled Ronaldo off for the second time in a week, the forward apparently shouted ‘what the f***’ at the manager before he stormed down the tunnel at the Allianz Stadium.

Afterwards, Sarri claimed that Ronaldo was suffering from a ‘little knee problem’ that was ‘affecting his performances’ but the player then trained for Portugal without any inhibitions.

Ronaldo and Maurizio Sarri clashed on several occasions during an ill-fated season 

They clashed over tactics, too. Although Sarri made clear Ronaldo would have a ‘licence to be free on the pitch’ it didn’t work out that way.

Ronaldo didn’t want to play as the lone frontman as Sarri hoped and wasn’t shy in criticising tactics he felt didn’t get the best out of him.

As at Chelsea, ‘Sarri-ball’ was disliked by fans and players and things reached a low point when they crashed out of the Champions League last-16 to Lyon despite two Ronaldo goals.

There was no way back for Sarri after that despite delivering another league title and he was sacked a day later. Ronaldo would not have been sorry to see him go.

Sarri tried to give Ronaldo licence on the pitch but the player didn’t feel he had the support

Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)

Relations between the next Juventus manager, Andrea Pirlo, and Ronaldo were far better but unfortunately the team slumped badly under his leadership.

Not only did they finish down in fourth in the Serie A table, they once again exited the Champions League early.

Ronaldo was partly to blame when he turned away in the defensive wall to allow Sergio Oliveira’s decisive free-kick to find the net, an act Pirlo described as a ‘mistake’.

Pirlo, unlike Sarri, didn’t feel the wrath of Ronaldo when he took him off during a late season game with Inter Milan.

There appeared to be a genuine respect between Ronaldo and Andrea Pirlo last season

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‘I think it was the first time he was happy to be subbed off,’ Pirlo said after Juventus won 3-2 despite Rodrigo Bentancur’s sending off.

‘We were one man down, and he’d have been chasing shadows. He was happy and smiling in the dressing room.’

Some problems only emerged after Ronaldo and Pirlo had left. The defender Leonardo Bonucci appeared to suggest Ronaldo’s presence was harmful top the team because they relied on him too much.

‘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,’ he said.

Giorgio Chiellini went even further, saying Ronaldo should have left for United before the beginning of the season.

Unfortunately, Pirlo wasn’t able to keep Juventus on top of Serie A or succeed in Europe

He said: ‘He left on August 28th, it would have been better for us if he had left earlier. It’s something we paid for, there’s a little shock in it for you and in my opinion we paid for it in terms of points.

‘Had he gone away on August 1st, we would have had time to prepare better.’

But Ronaldo still scored 36 goals amid the disappointment in his final season at Juventus and there seemed genuine sadness when Pirlo was relieved of his duties for Allegri to return in the summer.

‘Thank you Maestro, it was an honour to be coached by you,’ Ronaldo posted on Instagram alongside a picture of the pair shaking hands.

Pirlo was an outstanding player in his day and it seems Ronaldo appreciated that and wanted him to succeed. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

Ronaldo was blamed for turning away in the wall when Porto’s Sergio Oliveira hit a free-kick

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Manchester United)

Which brings us to the dramatic events of this weekend as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was put out of his misery by Manchester United after their dismal 4-1 defeat at Watford.

United had lost five of their last seven Premier League games, including a 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool and the most one-sided 2-0 ever against Man City, with the Watford loss the final straw.

Despite Ronaldo’s best efforts in the Champions League, where his late heroics against Villarreal and Atalanta kept United on course for the last-16, he couldn’t save Solskjaer in the domestic games.

At the start of the summer, Solskjaer could never have imagined Ronaldo would be in his team come the opening weeks of the new season.

Solskjaer holds up hands of apology after United’s dismal 4-1 defeat at Watford on Saturday

A list of transfer targets had been largely acquired when the chance to bring Ronaldo back to Old Trafford emerged and proved too good to turn down.

It did mean Solskjaer had to accommodate the superstar in his side, at the expense of the likes of Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood.

And in the end, even Ronaldo’s X-factor couldn’t lift the overall standard of the team.

It has been reported that Ronaldo was shocked at how things had deteriorated at United since he left the club for Real Madrid back in 2009.

Ronaldo’s brilliant saved United in several European games but they faltered domestically

That isn’t exactly Solskjaer’s fault – things have declined on and off the field since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 – and he is far from the first manager to pay the price.

The relationship between Solskjaer and Ronaldo appeared to be pretty good, even if the player’s frustrations could boil over during games.

He kicked out at Liverpool’s Curtis Jones and was booked for a cynical late tackle on Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne when things didn’t go his way in recent big games.

The way Ronaldo stormed down the tunnel after the 1-1 draw with Everton, which he started on the bench, were interpreted by some as actions that undermined his manager.

In the end, even Ronaldo couldn’t spare Solskjaer from the sack as United plunged into crisis

But the mutual respect was evident in Ronaldo’s farewell message on social media 24 hours after Solskjaer’s sacking.

‘He’s been my striker when I first came to Old Trafford and he’s been my coach since I came back to Man United,’ Ronaldo wrote.

‘But most of all, Ole is an outstanding human being. I wish him the best in whatever his life has reserved for him. Good luck, my friend! You deserve it!’




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