Ronaldo, 37, is not having the best year personally and professionally. He started the year a bit better under Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United but following the appointment of former AFC Ajax Amsterdam manager, he found game time difficult to come by at Old Trafford. This led to a blockbuster interview with TalkTV host Piers Morgan where he disrespected the club and the manager under the guise of speaking frankly and as a result, his contract was terminated.
With the Portugal national team, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner struggled the most, failing to leave any sort of impact in the squad for their UEFA Nations League games and friendlies.
It all ended tearfully as he suffered a humiliating World Cup exit from Qatar in the quarter finals, after being reduced to a squad player for most of the tournament. He then went on to watch his eternal rival, Lionel Messi, win the tournament to add salt to an already smarting injury to his ego and legacy.
Ronaldo is currently a free agent and his people are working on finding a new club for him by January. Lots of clubs have been linked to his signature, including Premier League leaders Arsenal, who Ronaldo praised in his bombshell interview with Morgan.
Arsenal lost star striker Gabriel Jesus to injury at the World Cup and the Brazilian would need at least three months to recover from the surgery he had. Outside their intended transfer business for January, finding a good replacement for Jesus is now a priority. One of those touted as Jesus’ replacement is Ronaldo.
However, Arsenal legend Winterburn has advised his former club to steer clear of Ronaldo or risk upsetting the balance of the team going into the most crucial bits of their season.
Winterburn said, “It’s a no from me, and there’s only one simple reason; it would be a short-term gap to fill. A lot of people might say that’s great, let’s do it. I wouldn’t be able to argue with that, but I think the way Arsenal start games, they press high, they’re full of energy, and Ronaldo is an unbelievable player, but I don’t think he has the legs to be able to do that anymore.”
“I’m certain he doesn’t. I think Arsenal would have to change their style of play to bring him in, and I think that move would be a complete disaster.”
Mikel Arteta has been given a war chest for his January business as a sign of endorsement from the club’s owners after his judicious use of the summer funds. However, Ronaldo’s maintenance may be outside their purview which makes it an even messier fit for the team than the club’s play style.