What if: Cristiano Ronaldo never left Manchester United

The icing on the cake as Ronaldo scores Real Madrid’s fourth goal on a historic night in Lisbon
Srinishanth Nalagandla

We often wonder how the present would have turned out to be if not for a few events in the past. Sometimes it is little things that change the course of history. While Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Real Madrid was by no means a little thing, it probably did change a number of things in the present.

How many times have Manchester United fans dreamt of this? Cristiano Ronaldo’s world record transfer to Real Madrid in 2009 was the move that will go down in football history books. It’s probably a move that changed how player transfers were looked it in the future.

Here are five things that certainly would’ve been different if not for Cristiano’s move to the Los Blancos.

#1 La Decima would still be a dream

While Real Madrid without Ronaldo is a fantastic team on paper, it is the Portuguese’s presence that adds to the team being European Contenders. In 2014, Real Madrid beat Atletico to lift the Champions League trophy for a historic tenth time.

His goal scoring prowess was undoubtedly a major factor is taking Real Madrid to the finals.The forward scored a record breaking 17 goals in the 2013-14 edition of the Champions league.

The last time Real Madrid won the Champions league was in 2002 with the popular Galacticos team. However, since 2003-04 Real Madrid had a poor run where they were knocked out in the Round of 16 for six seasons in a row.

Since Ronaldo’s arrival, Real Madrid has made it to the Semi-finals of the Champions League on six occasions in his seven years at the club. Coincidence? Of course, it isn’t!

#2 Messi and Ronaldo’s rivalry would not have reached such great heights

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 11: FIFA Ballon d'Or nominees Lionel Messi of Argentina and FC Barcelona (L) and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Real Madrid (R) attend a press conference prior to the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2015 at the Kongresshaus on January 11, 2016 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)
No player apart from Messi and Ronaldo has won the Ballon d'Or since 2008

Pundits and fans of the sport have always said that we are blessed to watch two of the greatest players in the history of the sport play together. It is often said that Lionel Messi’s greatness pushes Cristiano Ronaldo to greater heights and vice-versa. And stats do not lie.

After Messi’s four consecutive Ballon d’Or wins, Cristiano Ronaldo won two with tremendous dedication and hard work. Watch his rival win the Ballon d’Or, Lionel Messi’s performance went up a notch in 2015 as he won the Ballon d’Or that season.

It is true that one player’s greatness is inspiring the other to do better. Had Cristiano stayed at Manchester United, two of the greatest players of this generation would not go face to face as often.

Both players break the 30 goal landmark season after season in the La League while it is debatable whether it would have been the case for Cristiano had he stayed at Manchester.

#3 Manchester United would have been title contenders even after the Sir Alex Ferguson era

WIGAN, ENGLAND - MAY 13:  Sir Alex Ferguson the manager of Manchester United and Cristiano Ronaldo celebrate after the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Manchester United at the JJB Stadium on May 13, 2009 in Wigan, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Ronaldo considers Sir Alex a second father

There is no doubt that Manchester United have been undergoing a bit of a slump post the Sir Alex Ferguson era. After 27 glorious years with Manchester United, the Scot stepped down as manager in 2013 and the Manchester club hasn’t looked the same since.

With United not able to keep with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and even Leicester, they have had to resort to drastic measures such as roping in Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jose Mourinho hoping for a quick fix. However, had Ronaldo stayed in England, the transition period would not be such a complication for the Red Devils.

It is obvious that with Cristiano Ronaldo’s presence Manchester United would still be contenders for the Premier League irrespective of the manager. The striker’s proven talent to lead teams was on showcase in the summer when he led his team to a historic European Championship triumph.

He could have very well lead Manchester United to a Premier League trophy under David Moyes or Louis Van Gaal. Imagine Marcus Rashford lining up with Cristiano Ronaldo in front of goal!

#4 Premier League would still be dominant in Europe

MOSCOW - MAY 21:  Owen Hargreaves of Manchester United beats Petr Cech of Chelsea as he scores a penalty in the shoot out during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Manchester United and Chelsea at the Luzhniki Stadium on May 21, 2008 in Moscow, Russia.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
The last time two English teams made it to the finals of the Champions League was in 2008

Since Chelsea’s Champions League triumph in 2012, no English team has come close to winning the trophy. Even Chelsea’s victory was a victory of grit and determination rather than skill.

However, imagine the picture of the Premier League with Cristiano Ronaldo around. Players like Eden Hazard would have worked harder to compete with Cristiano while top players like Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale would have probably still stayed in the Premier League since the La Liga wouldn’t be as attractive as it is today.

While most of the best talent lies with Bayern Munich, Barcelona, and Real Madrid, high profile players like Cristiano would have won the Premier League more trophies in Europe or at least contribute to better performance.

That would, in turn, attract the most talented players to England. Imagine English football with Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, Gareth Bale. The league would probably have attracted players like Neymar if its standard was much higher talent wise.

#5 Cristiano would have more team trophies to show off

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 28:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid   kisses the trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 28, 2016 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Cristiano Ronaldo wins his third Champions League

While this may come as a surprise for many, Cristiano Ronaldo has won more trophies in Manchester than in Madrid. He won nine trophies with Manchester United in just six years, most of them as a developing youngster while he has won only eight with the Los Blancos in seven seasons, at the peak of his career.

This is because Manchester United was one of the most dominant teams in the Premier League when he played for the Red Devils. Also, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid weren’t as good as they are today.

Although Real Madrid looks a better team, their chances of a League title and a Copa Del Rey have been hampered by the brilliance of Barcelona and Simeone's Atletico Madrid. Ronaldo has won two Champions Leagues, two Copa Del Reys and One La Liga in his seven years at Real Madrid.

Other trophies include a Spanish Super Cup, a FIFA Club World Cup, and a UEFA Super Cup. Its is certain that Ronaldo in his peak with Manchester United would have won many more trophies.

Edited by Staff Editor


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