'Scared' - Bernardo Silva decision proves Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United theory correct

Cristiano Ronaldo
-Credit: (Image: Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Manchester United's decision to part ways with Cristiano Ronaldo may have proven right.

Ronaldo's second stint at Old Trafford did not end the way he would have hoped after being released by the club for a controversial interview with Piers Morgan in November 2022. He explained feeling like he was being 'betrayed' by the club, while also criticising the Glazers and Erik ten Hag.

The Portuguese star later completed a move to Saudi Arabia and is enjoying life in the Middle East with Al-Nassr. Despite failing to win the league in his first season at the club, he helped his side to their first-ever Arab Club Champions Cup title after scoring twice in a 2-1 extra-time win over Al Hilal.

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Ronaldo, who was the Saudi Pro League's top goal scorer last campaign, would have been keen to continue that form into Euro 2024 after missing Portugal's first two friendlies against Finland and Croatia.

He bagged two goals against Republic of Ireland in Portugal's 3-0 final friendly win and was consequently named in Roberto Martinez's starting XI against Czech Republic for their Euro 2024 opener. Portugal struggled in the first half and despite improvement in the second period, Czechia went ahead just after the hour mark.

Before substitute Francisco Conceicao bagged a late stoppage-time winner, Ronaldo offered very little to the game. At one point, Bernardo Silva, who was in the box, should have shot at goal but opted to pass the ball to Ronaldo and it came to nothing. At Manchester City, Silva would have taken that chance on.

For some players in the Seleção das Quinas, it may feel like they can’t contribute as much when Ronaldo is on the pitch, as he often holds his hands up asking for the ball, cutting a frustrated figure. This is something that pundits noticed during his days at United, where players felt some kind of pressure to make passes to him.

Former Aston Villa star Gabby Agbonlahor previously suggested that the presence of Ronaldo at United had a negative effect on the players. "It looks to me like Ronaldo just cares about his goals," he told Football Insider.

"That performance from Ronaldo was somebody sulking all game. He was throwing his hands up in the air because he wasn’t getting chances. Then after the game, he runs off the pitch sulking and I imagine he’s sulking in the changing room.

"His attitude was off. If I’m [Marcus] Rashford, [Mason] Greenwood and [Jadon] Sancho, I’m scared to have a shot. Every time they have a shot he’s got his arms up to say, 'Why haven’t you passed to me?' They can’t express themselves, it’s like they think, 'I have to pass to Ronaldo, I have to create a chance for Ronaldo.'

"Before Ronaldo came, Greenwood was taking players on and shots on and he’s not doing that anymore and getting dragged at half-time. If I was Rashford, Greenwood or Sancho I’d be saying to myself, 'Oh, why did we have to bring him here?'"

Reports at the time claimed that United video analysts found one attacker would always pass the ball to Ronaldo, in a bid to earn praise from him. It was concluded that the unnamed player, who was struggling for form, only passed to the five-time Ballon d'Or winner because of his reputation while other players were said to be 'overwhelmed' by his personality.

Despite this, Ronaldo still has a big part to play in the squad as Portugal look to replicate their Euro 2016 feat.