Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said his club did not consider signing Cristiano Ronaldo because he was not a player for the future.
He explained that it is better to embrace the future instead of harking back to the past.
Speaking about Ronaldo during his pre-match press conference as Liverpool gear up to play Chelsea – and Lukaku – on Saturday afternoon, Klopp said, “I watch that like a supporter, I have no knowledge about it. But it’s not about me to judge that. If other clubs can do things for this, it’s not a business for the future. It’s for now if it happens and that’s how some clubs work. That’s fine.
“Other clubs thought they needed to strengthen their offensive parts and had the resources to do it.”
Cristiano Ronaldo’s sensational return to Manchester United on Friday capped a transfer window that has made fans quickly forget the disappointment on the field, and uprising off it, that ended last season.
Just four months ago supporters stormed the Old Trafford pitch in protest at the club’s owners for their part in the failed European Super League project and a perceived lack of investment in the club, forcing the postponement of a Premier League clash with Liverpool.
In response, the Glazer family have sanctioned a transfer spend of nearly £150 million ($206 million) with Ronaldo joining his former Real Madrid teammate Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho.
That investment has ramped up the pressure on United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to deliver the club’s first Premier League title since Alex Ferguson retired as manager in 2013.
Solskjaer is yet to win a trophy in his two-and-a-half years in charge with his mismanagement of losing the Europa League final on penalties to Villarreal in United’s final game of last season still fresh in the memory.
The Norwegian did not make a single substitution until 100 minutes had been played in Gdansk as United failed to make their far greater resources count.
A lack of strength in depth is not an excuse Solskjaer will be able to use this season if he does not end United’s wait for silverware.
Even at 36, Ronaldo is still one of the most prolific goalscorers in the game. The Portuguese netted 36 times for Juventus last season and won the Golden Boot at Euro 2020, scoring five goals in four games.
“He is a legend of this club, he’s the greatest player of all time if you ask me,” said Solskjaer of his former teammate.
He and Sancho, who cost a reported £73 million from Borussia Dortmund in June, join a stacked forward line of Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.
Behind them Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba have already shone this season in a 5-1 thrashing of Leeds on the opening day of the Premier League season.
But a 1-1 draw at Southampton on Sunday exposed some familiar failings of Solskjaer’s reign that the recruitment of Ronaldo may solve.
The United manager can boast an impressive record against stronger opposition. He has beaten Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City four times in eight meetings and lost only twice in six clashes with Liverpool. Twice he’s won away to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
But too often United have performed poorly in the games they are expected to win.
Last season they finished 12 points behind City having dropped the same number of points against Crystal Palace and relegated Sheffield United, West Brom and Fulham.
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