The young Ballon d’Or winner had already made big strides with the Mancunian giants, and the move to Madrid saw the Spanish side’s fortunes change course, even as the Red Devils lived out what now seem to be the last years of their recent glory.
However, had the Portuguese giant stuck on at Old Trafford, things could have been drastically different.
1. No Struggle Post-SAF
Ronaldo would have likely remained at the club for the long term, following the paths of Scholes and Giggs, and as of such, the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson may have not hit the club as hard as it has.
In fact, retaining winning leader figures like Ronaldo and Rooney would have all but ensured the Mancunian giants continuing their unprecedented Premier League dominance, even under a new gaffer.
All things seem to point that a United with Ronaldo would have tasted even more success – a stark difference from their pitiable form during the past seasons.
2. No Need For ‘Next Ronaldo’
One can simply summarize United’s transfer ploys after the sale of Ronaldo by baptizing it as the hunt for the next big player to wear the no.7 jersey.
However, long and painful pursuits would still ensure that big-money investments like Michael Owen, Antonio Valencia, Angel Di Maria, and Memphis Depay would all sport that number to not much avail.
Fewer than 14 goals transpired between the lot, including the arrival of their recent winter acquisition Alexis Sanchez. This is pitiable to say the least, and one can ensure that had Ronaldo not left, this situation wouldn’t have occurred.
3. Madrid’s La Decima Gone?
It goes without saying that Ronaldo’s arrival was the instrumental factor in Real Madrid emerging as the undisputed giants of European football.
Prior to him making history at the Bernabeu, Madrid were in a spot of great worry. Their last big hurrah had come in 2002, when the iconic Galacticos squad brought home glory.
Since then, their performance at the grandest stage has been dismal, with elimination in the Round of 16 haunting them for 6 seasons straight.
However, the arrival of Ronaldo ensured that in 2014, when the Portuguese scored an unprecedented 17 goals in the UCL alone, Real did go on to win the immortal ‘La Decima’ title. No Ronaldo, no glory?
4. Subdued GOAT Rivalry
The now iconic rivalry between Ronaldo and Messi surely wouldn’t have taken root if the two superstars had continued to function in separate leagues. In fact, the Ballon d’Or, repeatedly hailed to be the biggest prize separating the two, may have also seen different numbers.
While Ronaldo would have been in an apt spot to take his title haul to great numbers, who is to say that a La Liga bereft of the Portuguese giant wouldn’t have enabled Messi to score enough unrivaled goals to notch further Ballon d’Ors?
5. Records Shattered
Alan Shearer still holds the Premier League record for most goals scored, with 260 to his name. Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney shall always hold a soft spot at Old Trafford, as the Englishman bettered none other than Sir Bobby Charlton with his all-time high club tally of 253 goals.
However, had Ronaldo remained, his already impressive tally of over 118 goals would have assuredly broken both club and league records and then some, given how he went on to perform with Los Blancos.
Incidentally, in the case of Madrid, Raul would have still retained his spot as the top-goalscorer.
6. Premier League Dominance In Europe
While Spanish clubs may have rendered a firm grasp as the finest in Europe, the simple difference of Ronald sticking on at United would have made all the difference in the dominance of English sides in Europe’s top competition.
However, prior to 2009, with Ronaldo, United had already reached and secured the title, and it seems all but guaranteed that more than that would have been on the line had things ended up differently.
7. Serie A Record Wouldn’t Have Been Broken
It’s funny how firmly domino effects tend to roll. If Ronaldo had remained a part of the Red Devils’ roster, then the iconic move that he underwent this summer to Juventus wouldn’t have occurred – Serie A being robbed of its record-breaking transfer.
This would also have kept the likes of Gonzalo Higuaín, who was pushed out to accommodate Ronaldo, at the Old Lady.
Most staggering of all, when United faced Juventus on Tuesday, they’d have had Ronaldo on their side, and not the other way around.