Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly looking to end his second spell at Manchester United after an unsuccessful season for both parties, with the intention of playing in the Champions League. However, with United and Ronaldo struggling to find clubs for the Portuguese star, Russian club Spartak Moscow took to Twitter for a scathing joke at his expense.
Spartak have engaged in football banter to increase their social media engagement in the past as well. When Lionel Messi’s contract at Barcelona ran out last summer, Spartak made a joke at their expense, tweeting a manufactured image of them writing to Messi saying “Hi Leo!” and Messi replying “no”. It was a popular and funny tweet, gaining over 240 thousand likes.
This year, with Ronaldo seeking a new club but struggling to find any, Spartak savagely flipped this joke on its head, with Ronaldo now the one saying “Hi, Spartak!” in a fake text message, and the club replying with “no.”
Ronaldo joined Manchester United from Juventus in summer 2021, with the intention of guiding the club at which he had shot to fame back to trophies and the limelight after several years of lack of success. However, his return was an unhappy one, with the 2021-22 season being one of United’s worst in recent times. Although Ronaldo scored 18 times in the Premier League, third-most of any player, United could only finish sixth, missing out of Champions League football next year.
This came in a season that also saw the sacking of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and a weak end as United were repeatedly humiliated by their opponents, including arch rivals Liverpool, who scored 9 goals in their two meetings in the league
Now 37-year-old and approaching the twilight years of his career, Ronaldo has reportedly realized that he is not a good fit for United, and does not wish to spend the last few years of his time competing for Europa League football. He is trying to play for a club in the highest level of European football, the Champions League. However, it has been explicitly stated that Bayern Munich, Chelsea, and Messi’s current club Paris Saint Germain are not interested in signing the Portuguese icon.
Ronaldo’s unsuccessful attempts to leave United have led to such jokes at his expense, with Spartak signifying how clubs either believe they no longer need Ronaldo — a statement which would have been blasphemous even two or three years ago — or can’t afford to pay the wages he is demanding. Ronaldo moved to Juventus in 2018 after they reached the Champions League final, but was at the club as they headed down a downhill slope, now having lost the previous two Serie A titles to the Milan clubs. Similarly, a United team which had reached the Europa League final in 2021 and finished second in the league endured a poorer season in 2021/22.
Ronaldo’s future remains uncertain at the moment, with United presumably open to letting him move on, should new manager Erik ten Hag be able to sign a replacement.