Former Manchester United coach, Mike Phelan has revealed Cristiano Ronaldo’s high standards contributed to the Portuguese star losing the support of some of his team-mates during his ill-fated second spell at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo has had two spells at Old Trafford, first signing from Sporting in 2003, and spending six years under Sir Alex Ferguson before a move to Real Madrid in 2009.
In 2021, he left Juventus and returned to the Premier League and immediately hit the ground running, but his move would sour, before an acrimonious departure in 2022.
His former coach Phelan, an iconic figure at the club, has opened up on how Ronaldo’s second spell unravelled around him in an interview with Sky Sports.
‘The second time round, he came in a lot older and a lot more opinionated, strong-willed,’ Phelan said.
‘He still had massively high standards and was terrific to work with. But I’d probably say a tougher mindset. He had been at Man United, he had been Portugal’s ever-present, he had been at Madrid.
‘I liked it because he didn’t want his standards to drop, he wanted other people’s standards to come up. And sometimes you lose a few people along the way when that happens.
‘I remember certain times when he pushed and pushed hard, and he didn’t get much reaction or much response. And there was frustration.
‘When you deal with top, top people, it’s about them and where they can finish and where they can get to. They want to look back and go “Wow, that was successful”. And he probably realised, and I don’t know as I never had that conversation with him, that he couldn’t do it at Manchester United. So his challenges were elsewhere.’
Ronaldo may have posted impressive numbers in his second spell, with 27 goals in 54 games, but his exit undoubtedly went some way to tarnishing his legacy at the club.