MICAH RICHARDS: Ronaldo’s return to United has changed everything in this season’s title race

MICAH RICHARDS: Ronaldo's return to United has changed everything in this season's title race images 8 September 11, 2021

I let myself dream for a few hours. I love a good story with a happy ending. I could see this possible transfer.

MICAH RICHARDS: Ronaldo's return to United has changed everything in this season's title race images 8 September 11, 2021
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester City? Wow! It was amazing! I didn’t care if he was associated with the Red side, because this move could be transformative for my club. Past allegiances didn’t bother me.

Carlos Tevez was a hero when he came to the Etihad stadium. I was able to see how quickly he adjusted. After a long and successful career at Old Trafford Andy Cole and Peter Schmeichel moved to City. They were warmly received and their legacy was not damaged.

Ronaldo would have been at a higher level but the idea that he could wear a blue shirt opened doors to all kinds of possibilities. Although I don’t think he would have joined City to get the elusive Champions League, it would have been a great opportunity.

He was the man who would take City to the next level. It has been said that Ronaldo is not the type of player Pep Guardiola prefers because of his star status and ego. But I don’t believe there would have been any problem.

There are always opportunities you can’t refuse. Ronaldo was one of those occasions. Ronaldo is a remarkable force of nature, and any manager would love to work with someone who can guarantee goals, more goals, and more goals.

Think about this: Put another 20-25 people into City’s team. He is the 36-year old who plays like he is 28. He was not a gamble. This is a guarantee that you will take your side to a higher level and give you a great chance of success.

The move to City was cancelled and Ronaldo was headed to Old Trafford. This is clearly a happy ending. If you take your eyes off the rivalry between cross-city cities, it is clear that this is a positive transfer. He will make noise and feel a lot of emotion against Newcastle.

We shouldn’t get too emotional. Ronaldo can do the same thing for United as I was raving all about his potential for City. On the first weekend of the season, I stated that I believed they were two players short of a title winning squad. However, this deal requires a reassessment.

Take a look at their firepower. Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Jadon Santacho. Also, note the star qualities Marcus Rashford or Edinson Cavani. They could use another defensive midfielder, but City was in dire need of a striker last season.

MICAH RICHARDS: Ronaldo's return to United has changed everything in this season's title race images 7 September 11, 2021

Why can’t United do it? If you take a look at the transfer window that saw Sancho and Raphael Varane signing alongside Ronaldo, you will see why it is one of the most successful recruitment drives.

Ronaldo is back in Manchester for some downtime, but don’t mislead yourself. He isn’t like this. I was able to play against him quite a few times in his Premier League debut. The thought of what he could do is still terrifying.

For a moment, imagine yourself in my shoes. He was a speedy full-back and would run from me. I couldn’t show him down on the touchline as a fullback. You were concerned that he might adjust his feet and hit a shot from 30 yards.

He was a skilled merchant back then so you had to get the first tackle count if you want to be successful against him. He had everything to destroy you if you let him build his confidence early.

His physical strength was another important aspect. We all know that his physical strength is extraordinary. You have seen photos of him. It was like Ronaldo was made of stone when you met him. Rio Ferdinand used to tell you that he was always in the gym, strengthening his core and improving his mobility.

All of that combined means he is stronger and more agile than you. He is smarter and has more skill than you. He would be impossible to contain if you double up, but that would only leave him open for others to exploit. All you could do to stop United’s momentum was to pray.

It was evident in his eyes that he desired more. He has won every medal there is, but he will not rest until he gets more with United.

Ronaldo will be a completely different Ronaldo to the United fans that he was during his first stint at Old Trafford. He has changed his game to be a goal-scorer champion who spends most of his time in box. But the impact I expect him have on the team means that they can dream.

It is now a four-way race for the title with all the big guys having their big boys. The most deserving winner will be May’s winner – United is firmly in the mix. This is the change that changed everything.

Although you hear the term “must win” often at the end of the season, it is also applicable to Arsenal’s match against Norwich in week 4.

For this fixture, they should have some of their key players back and Mikel Arteta will only accept three points. Arsenal must find a way out of the negative cycle that is surrounding them.

Arteta is an outstanding coach. I have seen him at work. Arteta is bright, has great ideas and knows everything about football. I was inspired to write a column last season about why no one laughs at Arsenal any more.

Arteta is a viable option. Arsenal’s failure has been to get rid of players who are not contributing. Too many people accept mediocre results, and this must change.

We can be honest and say that nobody expected them beat Chelsea or Manchester City. They are in an awful position because of their opening night loss to Brentford. They must change the situation. Saturday’s only hope is to score three goals and get three points.


A few weeks ago, Joe Hart began to talk to me about Harry Kane.

He spoke in great detail about Kane’s finishing and how impossible it was for goalkeepers to read Kane’s body language while he was shooting. Joe summed it all by calling him “perfect”.

That was what I thought of Wednesday, when Kane scored 41 England goals in Poland. That shot was exceptional, with the power and the swerve, and it showed that he is at the top his game.

It doesn’t matter what you thought about his summer and the failure to move to Manchester City. There is no hangover. He is set for another great season.

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