Without Ronaldo Manchester United will finish below Brighton next season

Ian Hart says, Cristiano Ronaldo has no obligation to Manchester United and makes bold Brighton prediction

After the Albion faithful had to swallow the harsh realities of ‘loyalty’ with the departure of Yves Bissouma, it’s almost deja vu in these jottings as I quote the famous words of the legendary boxing promoter Mickey Duff, “If you want loyalty buy a dog”.

I’ve come to terms with it over the years, through both therapy and yoga, but both my in-laws support Manchester United, fanatically.

Not a good week for them, and thousands of other ‘Reds’ fans as it’s fairly clear Old Trafford’s ‘Prodigal Son’, Cristiano Ronaldo, is leaving again after only 12 months back in Manchester.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been linked with a summer move to Manchester United's Premier League rivals Chelsea

A non-appearance at pre season training on Monday due to ‘family reasons’ evolved into an extended leave of absence, with the likelihood of arguably the greatest player to grace the EPL, to date, will never pull on a United shirt again.

The vocal ‘click bait’ that is Talk Sport came up with interesting question on Tuesday morning, “Does Ronaldo have a moral obligation to stay at Old Trafford?”

Morals in football….Is it April 1?

Unfortunately for the United faithful the harsh reality is that the club effectively duped the player into returning to Old Trafford.

Clearly due to the shortcomings of Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, United finished the season before last as Runners up, in that all important automatic Champions League spot.

Did Ronaldo really believe that with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the dugout United could actually challenge both City and Liverpool for the title as well as a credible attempt at the Champions League?

Or was the money on offer just too good to pass up for the multi millionaire footballer?

To be fair, it’s just as well he did sign, many United fans I’ve spoken to said if it hadn’t been for Ronaldo and keeper David De Gea, United would have been fighting it out at the bottom with Leeds and Everton, rather than qualifying for the Europa League.

The bottom line is that United, through their current ownership, are so far off the EPL hierarchy it will take at least three or four years of rebuilding to get anywhere near the likes of City, Liverpool, Chelsea and perhaps even Spurs.

Whether or not new boss Erik Ten Haag will get this amount of time remains to be seen, but what United fans in the main will have to do, is not adopt that sense of entitlement that we had from the Liverpool faithful during their time in the domestic footballing wilderness.

But where will Ronaldo end up?

He clearly sees Champions League football as a minimum requirement, I don’t think either Liverpool or City will entertain him, he’s probably out of Tottenham’s budget given their summer spending, so the Kings Road, looks a distinct possibility, with Ronaldo perhaps bringing down the curtain on his illustrious career in the blue shirt of Chelsea.

With the Albion poised to dip in the transfer market in a big way in the next couple of weeks, I’m still convinced that the Albion can, and will, finish above United next season.

Head on the block Harty? Let’s wait and see……..