Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick holds significant reservations over whether Cristiano Ronaldo should remain the club’s first-choice striker beyond this season.
According to a report by Manchester Evening News, Manchester United interim manager Rangnick is losing patience with the out-of-form Cristiano Ronaldo’s lack of efficiency in front of goal and has doubts about the prospect of Portuguese attacker leading the line for the Old Trafford outfit next season, with reports claiming that the star could depart the club at the end of the season.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s spectacular return to Manchester United last summer was heralded as the final piece in the puzzle for a club looking to reclaim its past glory. The club was set to make a genuine push for the league title.
However, a lot has happened since and after a bright start to his United return in which he scored 14 goals in his first 20 games, the Portuguese icon has endured a sharp fall from grace. And if things do not improve rapidly, his dream move could well turn into a nightmare.
The Portugal international is perhaps enduring the biggest low point of his glittering career, having managed just one goal in his last ten outings for the Red Devils, a run which included his longest goal drought since the 2008/09 campaign.
Ronaldo again drew a blank against Watford last weekend at Old Trafford, striking the post and netting a disallowed goal in the first half whilst missing a host of good scoring opportunities.
Not only is he not producing the desired end-product, but his body language has been poor as well. He appears to be exhausted adjusting to the German coach’s intense pressing style, and for the first time in his career, he seems to be lacking confidence, quality, and composure in the final third.
Despite the dip in form, Rangnick has been hesitant to drop the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, with the Watford game being the fourth game in 12 days for the 37-year-old. The workload showed in his performance, as he was sluggish and sloppy, becoming increasingly agitated as the game progressed.
Even if Rangnick considers dropping Ronaldo, it is not as if United have a plethora of reliable goal-scoring options available on the bench. Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani has been sidelined for the last five games with a groin issue and has just two goals to his name all season, while Marcus Rashford has largely underwhelmed this term, producing just five goals in over four-and-a-half months of action.
Rangnick, who will take up a two-year consultancy role at the end of the season, has already stated that identifying a young striker capable of spearheading United’s attack will be one of his top priorities in the summer, with recent links to Napoli hitman Victor Osimhen. There is also other speculation that Ronaldo may request to leave the club if they fail to qualify for the Champions League, leaving his Old Trafford future in further doubt.
Despite the critics, the 37-year-old is the Red Devil’s top goalscorer this season, with 15 goals in all competitions. With games against Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool coming up in the next few weeks, he could well play a significant role if United are to salvage some pride from what remains of this season.