What were Ronaldo’s old teams like after CR7 left?

Sporting Lisbon

In the 2002/03 season, Ronaldo was still a teenager with outstanding yellow hair. After CR7 joined Man United in the summer of 2003, Sporting finished third in the Portuguese league season 2003/04, and could not qualify for the Champions League qualifying round. Shamefully, they were defeated by Turkish side Genclerbirligi in the second round of the UEFA Cup (the precursor to today’s Europa League), when they lost 0-3 in the second leg at home.

The sale of Ronaldo was a factor that made Sporting Lisbon decline, but the key issue probably lies in the fact that they lost their main striker Jardel in the summer of the same year. However, the transfer proceeds were reinvested by Sporting in another Brazilian striker, Liedson – who became a club legend with 173 goals in 313 appearances. By the 2004/05 season, Sporting had reached the final of the UEFA Cup – where they were defeated at home by CSKA Moscow.

"Ronaldo

Man United

In 2009, Man United sold Ronaldo to Real Madrid for a world record fee of 94 million euros. Although it was a footballing decision, this cult move came at a convenient time. In 2010, the Glazer family – the American owner of MU – recorded a debt of 1.1 billion pounds after the impact of the global financial crisis. The Red Devils’ financial figures for October 2010 show the club’s record loss of £83.6 million, a figure that certainly looks much less “headache” thanks to the revenue from the sale of Ronaldo.

The loss of MU to a part in the 2009/10 season was disappointing, when they were unable to replace Ronaldo’s goals and were usurped by Chelsea to win the Premier League. They also fell behind in the European arena when they lost to Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Although the Ronaldo deal ended in early July, MU was unable to fully strengthen the striker line, with Michael Owen being a rare prominent name in free form.

To be fair, MU did not decline for too long. They regained the Premier League title in 2010/11, and reached another Champions League final, losing to Barcelona. MU sold Ronaldo at the right time instead of trying to keep the striker when his mind was on Real Madrid.

In Ronaldo’s second farewell to MU not long ago, coach Erik ten Hag and MU were probably happy. The whole season of the Red Devils revolved around the story of Ronaldo, and this is said to be a big distraction for Ten Hag – who is eager to implement his own style at Old Trafford. The Dutch strategist had to constantly deal with the troubles surrounding CR7 for a long time before being freed. Now, Ten Hag can wholeheartedly build a game for MU.

"Ronaldo

Real Madrid

In the summer of 2018, Real sold Ronaldo to Juventus for 117 million euros, ending CR7’s 9 years of dedication to the club. Los Blancos are confident “living well” without Ronaldo, but what they experienced is really a nightmare. First of all, it should be explained that Real’s financial problems were a key factor leading to the decision to sell Ronaldo. Pushing Ronaldo to Juventus with 117 million euros plus freeing up nearly 50 million euros of CR7’s salary per year helped Real announce a profit of 49 million euros. In short, Ronaldo has become too expensive to keep on the books, and that was even before any contract increases for CR7.

Real brought the money from the sale of Ronaldo to reinvest. They try to do everything with cheap signings, but at the expense of the club’s worst season in nearly two decades. Ronaldo’s replacement is striker Mariano Diaz from Lyon. The Dominican Republic player has remained at the club so far, but he will never fit in CR7’s giant boots. Mariano scored four goals in 2018/19 and despite Karim Benzema’s efforts to score 30 goals, Real could never make up for the 44 goals Ronaldo scored in 2017/18. As a result, the White Vultures ranked third in La Liga 2018/19, 19 points behind the champion Barca. They own the least total points (68) since the 2001/02 season and the worst goal difference (+17) since the 1999/2000 season.

Real’s dominance in the Champions League was also ended by Ajax, when the Dutch representative won 4-1 at the Bernabeu in the 1/8 round to go on with a total score of 5-3. Los Blancos were also crushed by Barca in the semi-finals of the King’s Cup. To add to the impression of post-Ronaldo chaos, they also went through three generations of coaches. Julen Lopetegui was sacked in October following a 1-5 defeat to Barca in El Clasico. Santiago Solari managed to stabilize things, but also lost his job in March to make room for the return of Zinedine Zidane, who had only stepped down nine months earlier.

However, over time, Real has gradually returned with consecutive La Liga championships and last season’s Champions League.

"Real

Juventus

After 3 years with Ronaldo, Juventus sold him to MU in the summer of 2021 for 17 million euros. Leaving players is seen as a burden for the team but Juve’s fortunes have not really improved as they once again finish in 4th place in Serie A 2021/22.

“Old lady” also only scored 57 goals in Serie A compared to 77 goals in Ronaldo’s final season. Their number 1 goalscorer is Paulo Dybala with a small number of 10. Juventus also finished 0-3 against Villarreal in the round of 16 of the Champions League at home, only to be eliminated with a total score of 1-4. In addition, Juve also lost the Coppa Italia final to Inter Milan.

However, Ronaldo’s departure seems to have improved the unity of the team. Not long after CR7 returned to Man United, his former teammates began to speak out. Veteran centre-back Giorgio Chiellini said that “Ronaldo should have left sooner”, while Leonardo Bonucci insisted what Chiellini said was completely true because Juventus is a better club without Ronaldo.

So far, luck has not smiled on Juventus. While Ronaldo still does not have a new stop, “Old lady” is currently ranked 3rd in Serie A with 31 points, 10 points behind the leader of the table Napoli. In the Champions League, they also experienced a poor group stage and were relegated to the Europa League.

"Juve

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