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Ronaldo and Manchester United: Sell or Keep?

Looking for an answer to one of the big questions of the offseason.

Ronaldo and MU: sell or keep? Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United last summer. On the one hand, a big event – both for the entire Premier League and specifically for United. On the other hand, the transfer of the star striker did not turn out to be the best in terms of ethics.

The Portuguese suddenly wanted to leave Juventus, in the squad of which he managed to play 1 match in the 2021/22 season. Demanding a transfer in the off-season is possible, but at the beginning of the campaign it’s no good. Both Massimiliano Allegri and some players at the Turin club claimed that Cristiano set them up.

Ronaldo did not leave Italy in the best way, but his return to England was also shrouded in fog. Many sources claimed that the forward was preparing for a move to Manchester City. This would not have been understood at Old Trafford, where he eventually headed. The Portuguese had a good season at Man Utd. Already in his first ACL match against Newcastle United, the striker scored a double at his home stadium. You couldn’t have thought of a better return to the Theatre of Dreams.

Ronaldo and Manchester United: Sell or Keep?
Cristiano Ronaldo

Last season Cristiano played 38 matches in all competitions, scored 24 goals and gave 3 assists. A good indicator for the 37-year-old forward. He became the top scorer at Man Utd immediately after his return and the third top scorer in the Premier League. The Portuguese is second only to Son Heung-min and Mohamed Salah in the APL. Meanwhile, the Mancunians forward surpassed Harry Kane and Sadio Mane in the goalscoring race.

The importance and necessity of Cristiano for MU has been hotly debated throughout the season. There is a perception that the Portuguese often pulls the blanket when completing attacks, which hurts the team’s performance. But that’s not the case. United played 30 games with Ronaldo in the AFL last season and won almost half of them – 14. Without him, the Mancunians had 8 matches and only 2 wins. With Cristiano, MU are averaging 1.6 points per game and 1.1 without him.

Speaking of the importance of Ronaldo. In the Champions League, for example, he scored the winning goals against Villarreal (2-1) and Atalanta (3-2). He also drew his team in the return leg against Atalanta (2-2) and opened the scoring in the second leg against Villarreal (2-0). “The UEFA Champions League title holders have scored 12 goals, six of which were scored by Cristiano. The Portuguese scored four of them after 75 minutes. It is an indicator of not only skill, but also character, which is something the Mancunians are sorely lacking.

The situation is similar in the Premier League. Ronaldo scored winning goals against Arsenal (3-2, double), Tottenham (3-2, hat-trick) and Norwich (3-2, hat-trick). “The Canaries, oddly enough, were serious rivals for United last season. In addition, Cristiano equalized in the match against West Ham (2-1) and helped his team to a draw against Chelsea (1-1). In all these games, the Mancunians earned important points for the standings. The Portuguese’s performance in specific matches has helped Moyes to 14 points, the highest total in the AFL for goalscorers.

Ronaldo’s behavior occasionally creates conflicting situations. That, of course, is a disadvantage. But who will score if we sell him now? In the 2020/21 season, Bruno Fernandes was United’s top scorer. The Portuguese scored nine clean sheets in the APL and nine more on penalties. Last campaign, he netted 10 goals. It turns out that Cristiano does not hinder the performance of his compatriot. Fernandes’ number of assists doubled, from six to 12.

Edinson Cavani has complained that he is getting less playing time due to Ronaldo’s arrival. However, the Uruguayan missed 20 games in the Premier League alone due to health problems. It is hardly the fault of any of his teammates. Cavani is gone. Only Ronaldo and Anthony Marcial, who has already started to be chased around on loan, remain as central strikers at Man Utd. The Mancunians have long been ready to sell the Frenchman, but have not received any lucrative offers on him.

Theoretically, Marcus Rashford or Anthony Elanga could play in the centre-forward position. But the former is unstable and the latter spent only one season as a main team player. Eric ten Hague likes and knows how to work with youth, but young players need a leader – both on the field and in the locker room. With Cavani, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata gone, Cristiano is the only player of his age capable of leading youngsters. It’s not even a question of desire, but of obligation. The Portuguese will have to be a leader if he wants to qualify for anything with the team.

The media are increasingly reporting that Ronaldo wants to leave United and that the Mancunians are allegedly ready to sell him. But Cristiano’s parting with United in the off-season seems unlikely, and primarily because of the position of the club, not the player. The Portuguese is 37 years old, but United are in no hurry to find a replacement for him. The Mancunians claimed Darwin Nunez, who chose Liverpool, and that was the end of it.

There’s the resurgent Memphis Depay, who Barcelona are ready to sell. There’s the scoring Alfredo Morelos from Rangers. What player from the Scottish Premiership wouldn’t want to go to the APL? There is, finally, the young and promising Jonathan David, who openly declares his desire to leave Lille. But MU is not taking any action. So, the club are counting on Ronaldo and his goals. It is too late to part with the Portuguese, otherwise we could repeat the fate of Juventus and really start the season only in January.

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