Former Manchester United defender Eric Bailly says Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit circumstances from Old Trafford in 2022 was a shame as he deserved a better departure from the club he gave everything for.
In summer 2021, Ronaldo returned to Manchester United twelve years after leaving the Red Devils for Real Madrid where he established himself as one of the greatest players of all-time.
The Juventus spell was not as successful as CR7 expected and he decided to come back ‘home’.
A call with Sir Alex Ferguson quickened the process and Man United announced his comeback on August 31, 2021.
However, that second stint at Old Trafford did not go as planned even though Ronaldo had a good 2021/2022 season scoring 24 goals and providing 3 assists in 39 appearances across all competitions.
The second season under Erik ten Hag was so stressful for the five-time Ballon d’or winner in such a way that he ended his contract in November 2022 just before the World Cup in Qatar to join Al-Nassr in January.
Eric Bailly who played alongside him during that second spell said his exit could have been done in a better circumstances than the one it occured.
“Cristiano Ronaldo returned, the legend coming back. He was the best player in the world for me. Even when he returned, Cristiano contributed a lot to the club and a player like Cristiano deserves to feel important. It’s a shame he left in the circumstances he did”, the Ivory Coast centre-back told The Athletic.
Bailly who returned to Villarreal few days ago recalled his duels with Ronaldo, Messi and other superstars during his first spell at the club [2015-2016]. “Everything went well there [at Villarreal]”, he said.
“I went back to Spain and my first away game was at Real Madrid against Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo. We drew 1-1. The next season, we played Liverpool in the semi-final of the Europa League. We won 1-0 at home but lost 3-0 away. I couldn’t play in the game at Anfield as I was injured. But it was all an incredible experience. I’d gone from being a reserve player to playing in a European semi-final in no time. I was learning all the time playing under Marcelino. I was playing against Xavi and Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez and Cristiano Ronaldo. It would have been impossible to see that path.”