PERHAPS FOR CRISTIANO RONALDO staying at Old Trafford will not be so bad after all.
Maybe the knowledge that he has to fight for his place in the twilight of his career to be part of Erik Ten Hag’s new dawn will be just what he needs.
At the end of last season he could see no light at the end of the tunnel.
Not even a long chat with Ten Hag could convince him.
He wanted out, to a place where he could add to his glorious legacy.
When no big clubs came calling and United refused to rip up his contract he became a brooding presence around the club.
Many teammates grew tired of him and his attitude.
Ten Hag wanted to work with him but was finding things were not clicking and was open to him leaving.
If he was staying, he wasn’t getting in the starting line-up again, not after that Brentford game.
Even for this game Ten Hag preferred a new buy in Antony who had not played for a fortnight and only just met his new teammates.
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The message has been clear – ‘We can get on without you’.
Marcus Rashford showed against Liverpool and with his double in this game that his confidence in front of goal is returning.
In the squad showdown talks at Carrington in the days after that Brentford humiliation, Rashford reminded Ten Hag that he had promised him a run at number nine.
Ten Hag said he could have it and he has delivered, although ironically his two goals against Arsenal came after he moved wide to accommodate Ronaldo coming on as a sub upfront.
Does Ronaldo not relish the chance now to be part of this new look era?
Battling it out with the youngsters Jadon Sancho, Antony and Rashford?
Showing at 37-years-old he can still be the boss by his actions on the pitch?
He looked desperate enough to join the party when he came on in the second-half.
Charging down the goalkeeper he almost forced a goal.
Sprinting down the centre of the pitch he was inches from latching on to a Fred through ball.
‘Viva Ronaldo’ rang round at that point.
Where else is he going to get such adulation?
His behaviour in trying to engineer a move out of Old Trafford a year into his second coming threatened to taint his legacy.
Now, he can be part of the rebuild, the comeback.
He can be an inspiration again to young players who had gone into their shells around him on and off the pitch.
Surely that’s not a bad way to end your career at the club where it really all started?
Ten Hag, would prefer it, but won’t lose too much sleep over it.
He has brought in the characters in the transfer market to lift Old Trafford again.
He has told them all it is his way or the highway.
Nobody’s place is booked, not if your the captain, not if you are one of the greatest players ever.
Not if you are Casemiro either, with Scott McTominay’s form keeping him out the team again.
A sign to anyone that if they buy into Ten Hag and his plans and give 100 per cent you are in.
After a shocking start, four wins on the bounce, two of them against Liverpool and now Arsenal, is pointing to a very bright season.
It’s up to Ronaldo if he wants to be part of it all.