Liverpool know Cristiano Ronaldo claim is absurd as Mohamed Salah shows Gary Neville must worry

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Gary Neville has been talking about Liverpool again. His take on Mohamed Salah is made to look all the more foolish by the Cristiano Ronaldo situation.

Jurgen Klopp on the one definite parallel between Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo
Manchester United have a Cristiano Ronaldo problem. Their big-name striker, their top scorer last season, wants out, following their failure to qualify for the Champions League.

This would not necessarily be a bad thing for the club, whose overall progression has been stunted by indulging the 37-year-old. But their reported top striker target, Darwin Núñez, has already gone to Liverpool. Manchester City have snapped up Erling Haaland. Chelsea are among the candidates to sign Ronaldo and they are one of the teams Manchester United are meant to be chasing.

In short, Erik ten Hag has been left high and dry.

Amid all this, Gary Neville has concluded that Mohamed Salah has ‘played’ Liverpool. The Egyptian recently signed a new contract: in holding out for better terms and ultimately getting them, he has apparently somehow made his club look foolish.

Negotiations are a normal part of any contract renewal. Meanwhile, the way Ronaldo has treated Manchester United is a long way from normal. If anyone has ‘played’ anyone, the problem is not at Anfield.

Let’s look at the facts. Having given his prime years to other clubs, Ronaldo eventually returned to Old Trafford — but only after attempting to engineer a transfer to Manchester City. Once the move was complete, he spent a season refusing to press, demanding that the system be built around him. He finished as the top scorer, but his team ended up with 16 fewer goals than they managed in the previous campaign.

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After failing to prevent Manchester United from missing out on the Champions League places, Ronaldo has now made it clear that he wants to leave the club for one that can offer him a place back in Europe’s elite. It could not be clearer that he is simply using his employers to pursue personal landmarks (or to use the words of Neville: he is playing them).

The contrast to Salah could hardly be more pronounced. Unlike Ronaldo, he did not seek a move abroad once Liverpool had helped him make his name. He stayed, and made the team a force to be reckoned with, ultimately delivering every single trophy on offer. Seeing out this latest renewal will take him to eight years of service at the club.

Yes, he has made Liverpool pay through the nose for the privilege of keeping him this time. But depending on which reports you believe, Salah will still be making less than Ronaldo. And, crucially, he has actually done something to earn it.

Ronaldo’s reputation precedes him, but he had done nothing to prove himself at Manchester United in well over a decade when they parachuted him in on a bumper wage. As for his previous role, all the warning signs were there: he had scored freely for Juventus, but the team as a whole had moved backwards. Sound familiar?

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