Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival at Manchester United was the beginning of the end of Edinson Cavani’s Red Devils career. Cavani enjoyed a positive first season at Old Trafford but had his game time limited by Ronaldo, and eventually decided to depart.
The striker scored 17 goals in his maiden campaign in English football. The signing of Cavani had been viewed as a bargain, with United snapping up the Uruguayan on a free transfer following his release by Paris Saint-Germain.
But Ronaldo’s return to United changed everything for Cavani. He remained with the club but scored just two goals as he played second fiddle to the Portuguese icon and became a secluded character at the Premier League club.
After leaving United for Valencia last summer, the now-36-year-old later revealed that had Ronaldo joined earlier in the summer of 2021, he would have found a new club at the time. The former Napoli star explained why he had to quit United.
"Knowing a bit about the world of football these days, the first thing I did was call my brother (Walter Fernando Guglielmone, who is also Cavani’s agent) and said: ‘Fernando, if this had happened a week ago, I would ask you to find me another club’,” Cavani said last May.
"But not because I didn't want to play with Cristiano Ronaldo. No. Because I had the opportunity to know him, and he is a great professional, with his targets, and that is perfect for a sportsman. But as I know, after years in football, how things work these days. That's why I spoke to my brother.
"It was more about understanding the situation. Not because I couldn't play in my role at Manchester, but because there are many things in football nowadays that are different from how they were with other people, how it was before, years ago. And since it happened suddenly, I felt nothing. I thought: ‘We'll play, do the best we can’."
Ronaldo’s own United career mirrored Cavani’s. The club icon enjoyed a very successful first season before finding himself out of favour in his second year.
After losing his battle to win over Erik ten Hag, Ronaldo conducted an infamous tell-all interview with Piers Morgan in which he lambasted the Dutchman and the club. United responded by tearing up the veteran’s contract.
While Cavani remains in Europe - scoring eight La Liga goals for Valencia this season - Ronaldo ended up joining Saudi Arabia club Al-Nassr. After a slow start in the Middle East, the 38-year-old now has eight goals in seven matches.
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