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OLIVER HOLT: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Signing By Manchester United Feels Like An Admission Of Defeat.

OLIVER HOLT – CHIEF SPORTS WRITER: The re-signing of Cristiano Ronaldo (centre) by Manchester United is a magnificent coup. But in football terms, his signing by United feels like an admission of defeat.

If United had wanted to move another step closer to winning their first title for nearly a decade, they would have moved for one of the men who have succeeded Ronaldo as the best striker in the world: Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland or Harry Kane.

That didn’t happen. It is an admission of defeat, too, because it is a symbol of a club that still cannot let go of their glorious past.

Short of reappointing Sir Alex Ferguson (inset) as manager, United could hardly have made a more vigorous nod to their history. His signing fits a recent pattern at Old Trafford of a board (top right, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward) that is blinded by reputation and star power.

It is cynical, I know, but there are few better ways to buy off the fanbase than with a big name. No one is talking about getting rid of the Glazers (bottom right, co-chairman Joel) any more now that Ronaldo is here.

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