Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United has proved a mixed bag, so it was no surprise to see Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane disagree over his impact at Old Trafford this term.
Ronaldo returned to the club last summer to much fanfare 12 years after departing for Real Madrid but ahead of Liverpool and United’s clash in the Premier League on Tuesday, Jamie Carragher believes United made a mistake signing the the Portuguese star.
Speaking with Keane in face-to-face discussion from LADBible, Carragher claimed part of the mistake was due to Ronaldo not being enough to push United into a Premier League title fight, with the Red Devils down in fifth this term and 20 points off the summit.
Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane faced off ahead of Liverpool vs Manchester United
The duo disagreed on a vast range of topics ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League clash
‘I’m thinking, this is Man United. Man United should be buying someone who’s 27, not 37. Who’s the next Ronaldo?’ Carragher said.
‘And it just smacked of where the club was, of this big fanfare of Ronaldo’s back, all this excitement. Really, everyone knew it wasn’t going to… I always felt it was never gonna push them any closer to the title.
‘He’d finished second the year before. And having watched Ronaldo, I still think, if you’re judging all United’s outfield players, he’s still been one of the best, if not the best.
‘Cause he’s the one who’s had four or five moments this season where you go “Wow.” For Ronaldo to be playing at one of the biggest clubs in the world at 37, and still having an impact, it’s unbelievable. But for Man United to buy Ronaldo, I just thought it was a joke.
‘It was either a panic ’cause they thought City were going to get him, whether they were kidded by this thing of getting Ronaldo back and everyone was excited. The social media, all the fans in the first game. I thought it was a bit embarrassing.’
Keane though believes United made the correct call at the time in re-signing the fan favourite.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s impact at Manchester United was one of the topics under discussion
Carragher believes signing Ronaldo has not pushed Untied any closer to the league title
‘I still think it was worth the gamble,’ Keane countered’. At the bigger picture, you’re looking it’s not a great signing because of his age and listen, whatever. But I still think he can bring something to the party, and I think he has.
‘But I think whatever’s gone on around him hasn’t been good enough. But I still think Ronaldo could also probably still show more better leadership skills. I know he’s been upset once or twice when he was left out. He clearly wasn’t gonna play in all the games. But he’s still showing moments, Jamie. He’s still showing moments.
‘Obviously, listen, the Tottenham game [where he scored a hat-trick]. Some of the European games. But I think it was worth the gamble.’
The two rivals also disagreed on whether Pep Guardiola could surpass Sir Alex Ferguson as the greatest Premier League manager of all time.
However it was former Liverpool star Carragher who believes the legendary Manchester United boss is untouchable.
‘The only thing I would say on Pep Guardiola, is I think he’s amazing, Carragher said. ‘He will have the most trophies. He will finish his career as the most successful manager in the history of football. He’ll have done it in different countries.
‘The reason why I would still go with Sir Alex Ferguson, is it’s not just to do with the Premier League, but there’s certain managers, and Jose’s one, I think Klopp’s one. It’s the one thing Pep hasn’t done, is almost win with an inferior team, or maybe when you’re up against the odds. That’s the only thing.
‘Now managing the great players, managing the great teams is obviously a skill in itself. But I think of what sort of Jose winning the Champions League with Porto. Or Sir Alex Ferguson, what he did with Aberdeen. Klopp, what he did with sort of Dortmund.
‘I’m not saying all these managers are better than Pep Guardiola, but in terms of Alex Ferguson, how long he was in the Premier League, where Manchester United were when he came in, you know, to be the guy who won that first title and then keep it going, I’d still have Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of Pep Guardiola.’
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola’s Premier League legacy was also up for debate
Roy Keane believes the City manager could surpass Ferguson as the greatest in the top flight
The one thing Pep hasn’t done is win with an inferior team or when up against the odds. Managing the great players and teams is obviously a skill in itself but Jose [Mourinho] won with Porto, Ferguson with Aberdeen, Klopp at Dortmund – I’m not saying these mangers are better than Guardiola. But in terms of Ferguson in how how long he was in the Premier League and where they were when he came in and becoming the guy to win that first title and keep it going, I’d still have Ferguson ahead of Guardiola.
Keane though believes, Guardiola has simply been smart in working with the best players and doesn’t need to prove his worth at a lower level.
The former United captain added: ‘He’s worked with the reserves and Barcelona first team and people go “he’s at Barcelona and it’s easy to win” but other Barcelona managers haven’t won that much – loads have been sacked. And of course he’s clever, going to Bayern Munich and City. He wants to work with the best.’
Both Sky pundits shared stories on the ‘madness’ of colleague Gary Neville
However, the duo did admit that Keane’s former United team-mate and Carragher’s fellow Sky colleague talk too much, with both admiring the former England defender’s multi-tasking skills.
‘I’ve never met anyone like Gary Neville, Carragher said. ‘He’s got a million things going on at once. At 4.10pm we have to get for kick-off at 4.30pm. We have to get to the lifts, sort out our microphones, and headsets. We have probably got two to three minutes and he has got his laptop out and I think he has gone on a stat pack.
‘So I had a look and he is sending an email over his hotel! I’m thinking “this game is kicking off in like two to three minutes”. And he’s reading this email and I’m thinking what is going on!”
Keane added: ‘That would annoy me! But he does multitask and for all his roles, Salford, his hotels and Sky. To me one of them jobs is your only job.
‘But he’s got loads going on, whether he is missing something upstairs. He’s lacking something obviously! I think there is a bit of madness to Gary. But part of me admires him for his multitasking.
SPORTbible and Sky Bet’s ‘Agree to Disagree’ is available on LADbible TV on YouTube.