Cristiano Ronaldo, if not the only one, is one of the finest players to grace the football pitch. For a decade he has been going toe to toe with Lionel Messi redefining the standards of football. His records and statistics speak for himself. At 36 years of age, Cristiano returned to his boyhood club Manchester United. He took a challenge to lift his team back to the life which they enjoyed under the reign of Sir Alex Ferguson. With 8 goals and 3 assists in 15 matches, he certainly has lifted the standard in United’s attacking front. Yet, United’s overall play has taken a major downfall. Ole was unable to identify the cog which didn’t allow his machine to work smoothly. Under Ralf Rangnick’s style of play, the answer is becoming clearer.
Manchester United’s Lack Lustre Mid-field
Cristiano’s time in Real Madrid is the highlight of his career. His career is defined by what he was able to achieve with Zidane and Real Madrid. Yet the fact that is easy to forget is during his spell with Madrid Ronaldo was backed by the likes of Casemiro, Kroos and Modric. Ronaldo’s lack of pressing was compensated by the quality which this mid-field was able to produce. In comparison to these midfielders, United has McTominay, Fred and Matic. These midfielders do not lie in the same bracket as these players do. The level of pressing which is required to create pressure on the opponent takes a drawback. This only takes a hit on the physical as well as the mentality of the players on the pitch. Ronaldo at his age remains unable to compensate for his lack of press. The way football is played today and the word Modern Football is often coined to it Ronaldo has no place in it. Cristiano cannot operate in this type of setup.
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This becomes more evident when Edinson Cavani starts in an attacking line-up. The pressure he creates in the opponent’s half certainly helps United to force out errors in the opponent’s half. Manchester United operates in a system that requires applying pressure with high intensity. Ronaldo’s inactivity sets off a chain reaction. The defensive structure and shape also suffer. The gaps and openings start to appear in certain areas of the pitch. The defensive workload increases drastically as they try to avoid giving any room to the opponents. Manchester United’s reason for bringing in Cristiano remains unclear. Questions have already been raised since the transfer announcement was made. Manchester United has no plans to strengthen their mid-field as of now. But they need to bring in new signings if they want to completely utilise Ronaldo’s potential which is not at the level which it was six or seven years ago.
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