Replacing ‘not for sale’, cumbersome but ‘a role in the future’: The case of Cristiano Ronaldo is still moot at Manchester United, even after the Red Devils won almost without a ‘CR7’ competition Monday. Against Liverpool (2-1).
With the Portuguese star entering only in the 86th minute, Manu secured his first league win, leaving coach Erik ten Hag relieved that his opening defeats (1-2 against Brighton and 4-0 against Brentford) had already weakened.
By pinning the five-a-side Golden Ball to the bench at the start of the shock against the Reds, the Dutch coach took a risk, which eventually paid off, while fueling controversy over the player’s future whose behavior has sparked controversy ever since. The start of the season.
The attacking trio Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho (both scorers) and Anthony Ilanga, having satisfied themselves on Monday, it will be difficult for Ronaldo to find a place in the “eleven” in the short term. Even if Ten Hag’s speech is meant to be soothing.
get rid of
“I don’t need to mention Harry Maguire (who is also a substitute on Monday, editor’s note) and Ronaldo: they are two great players and will play a role in the future, in the short term too,” confirmed the successful former Ajax coach, always finding it difficult to put them aside.
But this conciliatory rhetoric hides a real chasm between the player and his coach.
Ronaldo first missed United’s preliminary round for “family reasons” and then announced to his managers his wishes elsewhere (if possible within a club that competes in the Champions League, and he holds the goal-scoring record of 140 units). After that, Ronaldo infuriated Ten Hag when he left before the end of a warm-up match against Rayo Vallecano during which he was substituted in the second half.
No wonder then that since the start of the tournament the Portuguese has been used sparingly: only one full match during the defeat at Brentford, 37 minutes off at the start against Brighton, and thus only 10 minutes on Monday.
The 37-year-old former Real and Juventus player may have finished Manchester’s top scorer last season (18 goals in the Premier League), but his star is fading.
In addition, many observers in England believe that Ronaldo’s image and age do not correspond to the style of play dear to Erik ten Hag, which requires constant pressure and a great deal of energy.
looking for a buyer
Even if the Dutchman is a relative: “I think he can (adapt). Throughout his career, he’s done it under multiple coaches, in multiple systems. He always played, so why couldn’t he achieve it? His age is not an issue,” said Ten Hag after the win over Liverpool. “.
However, the current situation of the 2016 European champions with Portugal, eager to shine in the 2022 World Cup this fall (November 20 – December 18) may prompt agent Jorge Mendes to speed up his efforts to find a buying club: the tracks mentioned in recent weeks faded (Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Dortmund), and speculation that he will be sent to Marseille at the moment is just one rumor among others in this transfer window.
What explains Ten Hag’s cautious speech when he conjures up a player who could finally stay at United and should therefore be avoided.
On Monday, the technician welcomed the recruitment of midfielder Casemiro (former Real Madrid), who is supposed to bring “leadership on the ground”. “(This leadership) Ronaldo has that too. We need advice for young players who haven’t won trophies.”