Arsene Wenger on Cristiano Ronaldo’s Man Utd return: ‘Not 100% rational’

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Arsene Wenger delivers verdict on Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United return

The Frenchman believes the transfer was driven by emotional reasons (Pictures: Getty / Bild)

Arsene Wenger says Manchester United’s decision to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo was ‘not 100% rational’ and believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces a ‘big challenge’ retaining the balance of his team.

The 36-year-old forward informed Juventus last week that he wanted to leave Turin and United moved incredibly swiftly to bring the five-time Ballon d’Or winner back to Old Trafford on a two-year contract.

Ronaldo had initially been in talks with Manchester City but there was no way United were going to allow him to join their noisy neighbours, swooping in to hijack the deal.

Arsene Wenger delivers verdict on Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United return

Ronaldo made history with his two goals for Portugal in midweek (Picture: Getty)

Sir Alex Ferguson is reported to have played a key role in the Portugal international’s return, speaking to him personally, while a host of past and present United stars also reached out to him.

Although Wenger believes it is a great story to see Ronaldo back in a United shirt, he feels the decision to re-sign him was led by emotion as much as logic and it could be difficult for Solskjaer to retain the balance of his team with the new man up front.

‘This is a love story that you want to see,’ said Wenger on BILD LIVE on Friday.

‘[He was re-signed] for more than just sporting reasons, it’s also emotional. I think the decision is not 100% rational.

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‘Finding a balance in the team is a big challenge. But the players with a lot of experience still score a lot.’

Wenger also relived how close Arsenal had come to signing Ronaldo when he was a teenager at Sporting Lisbon only to be gazumped by United.

Arsene Wenger delivers verdict on Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United return

Arsenal made a play to try and sign Ronaldo from Sporting (Picture: Getty)

He added: ‘He was at our training ground and even wore an Arsenal jersey! But we could only pay €4million (£3.4m) back then. [Sir Alex] snatched him from me! And for €12m (£10.2m).’

United confirmed on Thursday evening that they had been granted permission by the Premier League to hand Ronaldo the No.7 jersey, with Edinson Cavani taking the vacant No.21 – which he wears for Uruguay – following Daniel James’ departure.

‘I wasn’t sure if it would be possible to have the No.7 shirt again,’ said Ronaldo, who also goes by the moniker CR7. ‘So I would like to say a huge thank you to Edi for this incredible gesture.’


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