How Ronaldo Has More Emotional Awareness Than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got it wrong when he substituted Cristiano Ronaldo two games into his second comeback and he must learn from it if he wants to deal with the best players in the world.

“Ronaldo is exceptional… But we have to look after him as well and it felt like the right moment to take him off.”

These were the words of Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following his team’s 2–1 defeat in the UEFA Champions League to Young Boys.

But it got it wrong soon before that when he substituted the number 7 for Jesse Lingard.

Sure, I can understand Ole’s thinking from a perspective of age as Ronaldo is 36 years old and there is a 38 game Premier League campaign. And that’s not including the three other competitions the club are in throughout the season. He thought that physically he needed to be managed with all these new games in mind.

Photo by Larry RW on Unsplash

Yet that’s only if you look at things physically and from a general perspective.

After all, your body doesn’t look at games, your eyes do. And if Solskjaer was open-eyed enough he’d realize that Ronaldo’s body is in prime physical condition.

As athletes age, they have built up so many years of endurance so it’s not a huge physical problem for them to continue to play at a certain pace. The problem with many athletes is that they slow down in their later years at the top level.

But in that game, Ronaldo had not hit that point yet.

For example, in his previous game, Cristiano glided past a Newcastle United defender to score one of his two comeback goals. He was clocked at 32.5 kilometers per hour at one stage during that run showing he had not lost his pace.

Although he admitted afterward that he didn’t expect to score two goals he outshone his expectations showing the passion he had regarding his comeback to play for the club that projected him onto the front pages of world sport in the first place. In this post-match interview, Cristiano admitted that he was very nervous before his comeback debut and you can’t be nervous without having energy.

So rather than being tired at this stage of the early season, he was brimming with vigor.

And if his new manager knew best he’d know that nervous energy

comes from an athlete’s brain. Because it’s the brain’s limbic system

that looks after these feelings. There in this ancient part of its structure, the insular cortex and cingulate cortex play with the sensory, affective, and cognitive components of pain and the processes of information.

And Ronaldo has played in a lot bigger and more painful games than a Premier League game versus Newcastle United and has proven it can manage the neurological pressures that are thrown at him.

Photo by Vienna Reyes on Unsplash

So the fact that he was nervous probably meant he arrived back at Untied with the intent to play the maximum amount of minutes in every big game that he started.

After all, in an international World Cup qualifying game before that particular club game, Ronaldo scored twice late on to assure his Portuguese national team beat the Republic of Ireland. There he again proved that he has the fitness to last an early-season game in the latter minutes while still doing more than enough for his team.

So Solskjaer’s comments in the wake of the defeat are puzzling to say the least.

In another interview, the Manchester United manager had claimed that Ronaldo is the greatest player of all time. It was also communicated to the media that the Manchester United players were delighted that Ronaldo was to return to the club after 12 years of being away. And if the television and internet is anything to go by, the supporters were smiling from ear to ear too!

With this in mind, surely with a game so finely balanced on the score line as the Untied game was with Young Boys that Ole would do anything other than trigger Ronaldo’s anxiety?

Yet he did exactly that and more than likely the rest of the team’s too.

But let’s look beyond the awesome physical presence of the Portuguese star for a moment and see what his story tells us on how he can manage pressure and use his emotions to guide him.

Cristiano Ronaldo has performed excellently with an even bigger club than Manchester United. In Spain, he played several seasons with Real Madrid. There he scored 450 goals in 438 games.

That was an incredible feat.

Playing in Madrid can upset a player so much that their whole top-flight career can unwind as a result of being in the pressure cooker at the Bernabau brings.

Just ask Nicolas Anelka.

As the French man has spoken about how the stress of playing at Madrid was so invasive to his personal life that he had regrets about moving there even though he had the physical pace and goal-scoring ability to burn any defender at the top level of the game. Yet he had not the ability to manage his mind, as well as Ronaldo, has proven throughout his career.

For most players over a long season, the rest that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refers to makes sense but not for the biggest of games early in the season and with the biggest of players who feel they have something to prove.

What Solskjaer needs to realize is that you first have to win games to be in contention in any competition and in doing so you need to make sure the best player in the world is looked after and the team and supporters are happy too.

Ronaldo knows how to manage himself mentally because he’s done it for a long time in many countries with some incredible pressure on him. In being the best player that he has been he disregards feelings and instead concentrates on the numbers over the longer term.

Because for him it’s about playing the full amount of minutes in the top competitions in the world.

By getting the chance to score the most amount of goals, and playing the next two years at the club that he adores Ronaldo can get his two-year contract extended for at least another year.

And the only way to do that is to meet the performance objectives that his existing contract demands and that will undoubtedly include scoring goals in the top European competition that he plays in.

On the other hand, if the Manchester United manager wants to speak about feelings he needs to look at those of his players and the supporters he serves and not just his own.

Photo by Portuguese Gravity on Unsplash

That was an incredible feat.

Playing in Madrid can upset a player so much that their whole top-flight career can unwind as a result of being in the pressure cooker at the Bernabau brings.

Just ask Nicolas Anelka.

As the French man has spoken about how the stress of playing at Madrid was so invasive to his personal life that he had regrets about moving there even though he had the physical pace and goal-scoring ability to burn any defender at the top level of the game. Yet he had not the ability to manage his mind, as well as Ronaldo, has proven throughout his career.

For most players over a long season, the rest that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refers to makes sense but not for the biggest of games early in the season and with the biggest of players

who feel they have something to prove.

What Solskjaer needs to realize is that you first have to win games to be in contention in any competition and in doing so you need to make sure the best player in the world is looked after and the team and supporters are happy too.

Ronaldo knows how to manage himself mentally because he’s done it for a long time in many countries with some incredible pressure on him. In being the best player that he has been he disregards feelings and instead concentrates on the numbers over the longer term.

Because for him it’s about playing the full amount of minutes in the top competitions in the world.

By getting the chance to score the most amount of goals, and playing the next two years at the club that he adores Ronaldo can get his two-year contract extended for at least another year.

And the only way to do that is to meet the performance objectives that his existing contract demands and that will undoubtedly include scoring goals in the top European competition that he plays in.

On the other hand, if the Manchester United manager wants to speak about feelings he needs to look at those of his players and the supporters he serves and not just his own.

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Forbes, INC. & Entrepreneur Magazines, CBS, & NBC Featured, Dr. Conor Is The World’s Leading High-Performance Neuro Socio-Psychologist & Co-Authored 4 Books

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Dr. Conor Hogan Ph.D.

Dr. Conor Hogan Ph.D.

Forbes, INC. & Entrepreneur Magazines, CBS, & NBC Featured, Dr. Conor Is The World’s Leading High-Performance Neuro Socio-Psychologist & Co-Authored 4 Books

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