Is Cristiano Ronaldo a Problem at Manchester United?

ronaldo fernandes man united

Jordan Edmonds

Is Cristiano Ronaldo a Problem at Manchester United?

Cristiano Ronaldo’s sensational return to Manchester United in the summer left many pondering if the Portuguese legend could fire his former side back to glory and silverware.

However, six months later, things aren’t going that way at all. United have once again regressed to the point where a battle for a top four-spot is probably the best they can hope for this season. But, after going on the worst goalscoring drought of his career, is it all down to Ronaldo and his role in the team?

Despite looking as though they were building and improving under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last season, United started to slip again this campaign which ultimately led to the Norwegian losing his position and being replaced by Ralf Rangnick. Since his arrival though, the German hasn’t been able to change fortunes at United to the extent he’d have liked.

Premier League Top 4 Tips

skybet betting tip

MANCHESTER UNITED TO FINISH TOP FOUR IN THE 2021/22 PREMIER LEAGUE @ 11/4

United’s Change In Philosophy

When Ragnick arrived, many highlighted his high-intensity pressing style as a key philosophy that was associated with the former Schalke boss, and how the attacking players put the squeeze on defenders, pressuring them into mistakes.

Now 37-years of age, Ronaldo isn’t the dynamic, pacey winger he used to be and is often seen as more of a target man, which could be an issue for Rangnick and his style of play.

Rangnick has stuck with Ronaldo in the team but may feel like he must, because it is the man that many consider the greatest of all time, despite wanting a fresh, energetic frontman.

The German coach has already expressed how ‘obvious’ it is that United need a new, young striker, which could indicate that he isn’t totally sure about Ronaldo’s role in the side. Many also believe that getting rid of the Portuguese legend for a young, fresh star to lead the line, could be better for the team and allow United to play a different style up-front.

Manchester United Champions League Odds

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MANCHESTER UNITED TO WIN THE 2021/22 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE @ 20/1

Managerial Uncertainty at Old Trafford

The fact that there is uncertainty around United’s managerial future could also be an issue, with it still not clear who will oversee the Red Devils next season.

Rangnick is only there on an interim basis and is likely to step aside at the end of the season and make way for a new manager. All this unsettlement may be a factor in not just Ronaldo’s form, but the poor form of United this season, who are playing for a manager that won’t be there for much longer and aren’t sure what the future holds.

A major theme of United this season has been their complacency as a team. We’ve seen them line up in a 4-2-3-1 under Solskjaer, a 4-2-2-2 when Ragnick first took charge, as well as a 4-3-3 and back to a 4-2-3-1 in recent weeks. It’s even more alarming that with these changes, whatever formation, they still look unstable and easily penetrable – especially in midfield. Problems with United’s shape and lack of presence, especially in the middle, has seen them slip up many times – which can affect the whole team.

Next Manchester United Manager Tips

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ERIK TEN HAG TO BE MANCHESTER UNITED'S NEXT PERMANENT MANAGER @ 7/2

Ronaldo’s Goalscoring Form & Out of Form Teammates

Whilst it is obvious that Ronaldo is no longer the tricky, electric, attacker he once was, his goal returns in recent seasons kept him among the best players in the world.

The 37-year-old was Serie A top goal scorer last season after 29 goals in 33 games with Juventus. He even got off to a good start back in Manchester, with 14 in his first 20 matches back at United. Those goals have dried up though, with one goal in his last ten appearances making it one of the toughest times in his glittering career. However, it isn’t just Ronaldo who has been badly out of form this season.

Marcus Rashford has grown into one of United’s star players through the years, but this season has been way below his best. Jadon Sancho made the huge move in the summer, but even he is only just starting to find his feet after struggling to make an impact so far.

It is telling when Rangnick is calling on a young teenager fresh from the academy in Anthony Elanga to make a difference in matches. The form of those will surely be affecting Ronaldo, who is often leading the line by himself.

This season has been difficult for Ronaldo, as he enters his late thirties. However, he has still shown glimpses of the goalscoring prowess we have become accustomed to in recent years. He has nine Premier League goals, more than Harry Kane, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku to name a few. But, only time will tell if he is holding United back, or whether he can rediscover the form to silence the doubters – something you wouldn’t put past him.

Cristiano Ronaldo Transfer Odds

skybet betting tip

CRISTIANO RONALDO TO MOVE TO SPORTING LISBON BEFORE 3RD SEPTEMBER 2022 @ 7/2

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