With the Premier League now hitting pause, the footballing world's attention was expected to turn to the World Cup.
Granted, it's been a peculiar build-up to the tournament. With matches taking place over the weekend, there's been no time for excitement to escalate. No World In Motion or Three Lions on the radio blasting on the radio nor flags flying from car roofs.
And just as those things might have started happening, instead, for the next couple of days, headlines will be dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo's latest antics.
Ronaldo is one of the greatest-ever players in history, no doubt. His goalscoring record and the myriad of trophies won during his career - including five Champions Leagues - speak for themselves.
Yet since returning to Manchester United in August 2021, Ronaldo has proven a divisive figure - and especially over the past few months.
It started during the summer transfer window when Ronaldo wanted to depart United after they failed to qualify for the Champions League in his maiden season back. No suitors came forward, though.
Then there was the moment he stormed down the Old Trafford tunnel before the full-time whistle of United's 2-0 defeat of Tottenham in October. Ronaldo had been left on the bench for the game and took the shine off the win against a top-four rival.
And while he was dropped for one match, Erik ten Hag - who took over the Red Devils in the summer and was tasked with bringing glory back to the club - reinstated Ronaldo into his plans.
Yet Ronaldo has shown no sign of guilt or remorse. Instead, in an interview with Piers Morgan, he gave a scathing assessment on how he feels about ten Hag and some of the United hierarchy.
Ronaldo said: “Yes, not only the coach, but another two or three guys around the club. I felt betrayed.
“I don’t care. People should listen to the truth. Yes I felt betrayed and I felt like some people don’t want me here, not only this year but last year too.
“I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me. If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never gonna have respect for you.”
In truth, plenty believe he should have been frozen out after his petulant antics against Spurs. And even after ten Hag handed out the olive branch, making Ronaldo captain in last week's 4-2 defeat of Aston Villa, the United chief has been hit with a slap in the face.
If Jurgen Klopp was in ten Hag's shoes, he's already shown how he would deal with Ronaldo. The gregarious German hasn't had too many fall-outs with his own players since arriving as Liverpool manager in 2015. Instead, close bonds have been formed with vast majority.
Yet there was one incident when Klopp displayed his no-nonsense, ruthless side for the good of the club.
During Klopp's first pre-season in charge, Mamadou Sakho suffered the consequences after irking his manager for several minor reasons during a tour of America. As a result, the Frenchman was sent home early from the trip.
"It’s not that serious,” said Klopp after Sakho was banished from the rest of his squad. “He missed the departure of the plane, he missed a session and then was late for a meal.
“I have to build a group here, I have to start new, so I thought it maybe made sense that he flew home to Liverpool and after eight days, when we come back, we can talk about it.”
While Klopp may have publicly played down the incident, his subsequent actions highlight how he was frustrated behind the scenes. So much so that Sakho wouldn't play for Liverpool again. During the first half of the 2016-17 season, the centre-back was demoted from the senior squad and played just once for the under-23s.
Sakho then joined Crystal Palace on loan in the January transfer window before making his switch permanent the following summer.
Klopp's decision, at the time, was a bold one. With Liverpool building for a push towards the Champions League, it left only Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan as senior centre-half options. What’s more, latter two had arrived that summer and never played in the Premier League before.
But that didn't matter to Klopp. Ensuring the harmony in the squad was imperative. He felt getting rid of Sakho would do more good than bad. Indeed, that proved the case with Liverpool finishing fourth in the table and booking a return to Europe's elite club competition. The rest is history.
Granted, there are commercial revenue aspects that mean ten Hag’s decision with Ronaldo might not be as straightforward. Still, that’s something that would unlikely stop Klopp if the Dutchman’s position. He knows that the collective is far more important than any individual.