SHOULD we really be surprised to see Cristiano Ronaldo barking orders to his teammates on and off the pitch?
No. Does the mean that he is undermining his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and what Ronaldo is doing is incorrect?
Although I never have, and still don’t, believe the Solskjaer is an elite manager, I think by allowing Ronaldo to give directions to players from the sidelines or pitch shows that Solskjaer is evolving as a manager and not — as many would think — as someone who is afraid of one of the greatest to ever play the sport.
It shows that Solskjaer is comfortable as United manager and is threatened by the presence of Ronaldo at the club.
An insecure manager would be quick to try and quieten the Portuguese superstar rather than take advantage of the wisdom from someone who has achieved almost everything there is to achieve in the game.
Solskjaer’s management style is not a dictator type. That’s one of the reasons he has such a good relationship with the players. I’m sure he has already had the chat with Ronaldo to give the former Real Madrid player his permission to voice his opinion when the time is right.
A lot of managers that I’ve worked under would be similar.
Before games, managers would always allow players to have their say on matters, now that could be six or seven players randomly saying things they believe will motivate players, or they will nominate a player to speak — which is more productive.
At half-time in games; managers don’t immediately come into the dressing room. They allow the players to have a debrief among themselves first. These debriefs can be a lot more beneficial than what the manager says because the players are the ones on the pitch.
They know exactly what the conditions are like to play in, whereas a manager can just give his opinion. Of course, there are players in these situations who just speak to be heard and player debriefs can often lead to arguments but not when a player is being constructive or that the player speaking is taking responsibility as well if the performance is not going to plan.
I always tried to give my opinion at half-time in games but I would never shift the blame on one single player and always felt it was important to point out my own flaws before teammates'. However, there are some players that are unwilling to accept blame and this is when a manager does need to step in and stop certain players from having their say.
With Ronaldo, I would imagine it would be hard to argue with anything he says and he is so self-driven that I believe he would be the first to point out his mistakes so that he could work on correcting them. He didn’t achieve everything he has in the game without identifying what his weaknesses were.
I don’t understand the criticism the United striker has faced after he was substituted in their Champions League defeat to Young Boys. He was not trying to undermine Solskjaer. He was simply trying to encourage his teammates to get something from the game. Have we not seen him act in this way before when he had to come off early in Portugal’s historic victory over France in Euro 2016.
Yes, of course, the former Juventus player will at times receive special treatment from Solskjaer because the United manager knows that Ronaldo could be the difference between United winning silverware or not.
At least, we know Ronaldo will always be a professional when receiving such special treatment. It would be a lot worse if Ronaldo was turning up to training going through the motions and kicking a ball onto a motorway — like one of the most naturally talented players I played with that always received special treatment.
Ronaldo is simply demanded that a few adjustments are made, whether that be a player’s attitude on the pitch or what he eats in the buildup to games. People should be encouraging what Ronaldo does not looking for instances to devalue him.