Things are never done the easy or straightforward way at Manchester United and 2021 was yet another drama-filled year.

However, here are the three biggest surprises from 2021:

Return of Cristiano Ronaldo

Manchester United v Newcastle United - Premier League
(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

It looked like the unthinkable was happening and Manchester United fans were going to have to deal with our prodigal son firing Manchester City to major trophies.

But things escalated very quickly, from Rio Ferdinand’s cryptic Tweet, to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s dramatic press conference and in the blink of an eye, it was announced that Cristiano Ronaldo was coming home.

RONALDO NEEDS TO STOP WHINING.

It is something that United fans have been dreaming about since he left for Real Madrid 12 years ago.

‘PS – Sir Alex this one is for you’ is something that will always resonate with Manchester United supporters.

It’s going to take something very special to replicate the atmosphere of Ronaldo’s homecoming against Newcastle United, where the great Portuguese blew the roof of Old Trafford with two goals.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer departure

Watford v Manchester United - Premier League
(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Following the heartache of the Europa League penalty shootout defeat in Gdansk, Manchester United gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a dream transfer window.

After finally landing Jadon Sancho, World Cup winner Raphael Varane was unveiled as a Manchester United player before the Reds dismantled rivals Leeds, on the opening weekend of the new season.

The icing on the cake came when it was announced that ‘Viva Ronaldo’ would be coming back to the Theatre of Dreams.

Following a 2-1 win at West Ham United in September, after a Jesse Lingard screamer and yes a penalty save from David de Gea, Manchester United were joint top of the Premier League after five games.

But disaster struck and United went on to lose five of our next seven Premier League matches, which included hammerings against Liverpool and Manchester City, on home soil.

The club parted ways with an emotional Solskjaer, following a 4-1 battering at Watford.

Sensible Rangnick decision

Manchester United Training and Press Conference
(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

There was no place in place for Solskjaer’s sacking. The club’s hierarchy had hoped the Norwegian would turn things around.

But the manner in some of our defeats highlighted that we had passed the point of no return and the club had to part ways with the legendary ‘baby-faced assassin’.

When the club announced that Michael Carrick would be taking caretaker charge, then an interim manager would be hired until the end of the season, followed by a permanent appointment in the summer, it looked a complete mess.

Hiring Ralf Rangnick as our interim manager was a good decision, but giving the man dubbed the ‘godfather of gegenpressing’ a two-year consultancy role, following his spell in interim charge could potentially become the club’s best piece of business since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013.

It was the first sign of Ed Woodward and the Glazers relinquishing some of their power over making football decisions. Rangnick is one of the best directors of football in the business and United can only benefit from having the German around the club.

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