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Stay, Ronaldo

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Manchester United are in a weird place right now. No, not in the Premier League table. The Red Devils have a lot on their plate. They are embroiled in a battle for fourth place. A new manager is coming after the end of the season.

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Though nothing has been confirmed, Erik ten Hag is the favourite to take up the job. Old Trafford is set to go for major redevelopment soon. Therefore, one can be forgiven for thinking the squad troubles are being overlooked.

In all of this, there’s been one player who has been practically carrying the team. Cristiano Ronaldo is having a prolific season in a career filled with them. The hat-trick against Norwich took his tally across all competitions to 21 goals. Simply put, Ronaldo has to stay for the next season no matter who the manager is.

Despite all the talk surrounding how he does not fit the “style of play,” his importance in front of goal is unmatched. Therefore, United have to make sure that all parties work towards this.

Goals, goals, and more goals

The one guarantee with Cristiano Ronaldo is that the goals will always flow. Ronaldo’s scoring record in England and Spain speaks for itself. He netted 81 league goals for Juventus in three seasons. The versatility across leagues and countries has been astounding.

Moreover, his work ethic and determination to get better with age are world-famous. For instance, the hat-trick against Norwich took his career tally to 60. Exactly half of them have come after Ronaldo turned 30-years-old.

Therefore, it is no surprise that Ronaldo has continued doing the same with United. Needless to say, the 2021-22 season has been the hardest yet.


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The Red Devils are a bunch of average players sprinkled with a few superstars who have no clear identity of play. That is why the fact that Ronaldo has continued producing the goods stands out.

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Almost always shows up

In addition, Cristiano Ronaldo has been the player who lives for the big moments. He has proved it already in 2021-22 with some very important goals across competitions. Ronaldo’s ability to remain switched on throughout the full match has been a hallmark throughout his career.

Therefore, if his teammates can provide him with quality balls, Ronaldo can get away strikes.

He averages 3.93 shots per 90 over the past year, putting him in the top 97 percentile of players across Europe. Ronaldo’s off-the-ball movement and know-how for finding spaces have been integral to his continued success.

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Therefore, even when he is not scoring, Ronaldo can pull the opposition defence towards him to create chances for teammates. There is indeed an overreliance on Ronaldo currently and with good reason.

Lack of alternatives 

The options apart from Cristiano Ronaldo have been dismal. Marcus Rashford is going through the worst slump in his career. Anthony Martial has left on loan and could be leaving at the end of the season. Anthony Elanga has been bright in patches but still has a long way to go.

Mason Greenwood will not be able to play again in all probability. Edinson Cavani has only had six starts. That has left Jadon Sancho looking the most dangerous alongside Ronaldo. Whenever Ronaldo has missed matches, United have looked toothless in front of goal. There is no central point of attack once Ronaldo is out of the team.

However, there is the ever-growing feeling that the board will spend heavily in the summer to support the new manager. No matter who comes and who gets brought in, Ronaldo has to be present for a multitude of reasons.

What happens in the summer?

A lot of things, presumably. The new manager will certainly want to bring in reinforcements. United’s lack of an astute defensive midfielder, right-winger and possibly a centre back have been glaring.

Moreover, a striker will be needed given the combined age of Cavani and Ronaldo being over 72-years-old. The Uruguayan will be leaving, alongside Nemanja Matic.


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There have also been talks of the new manager and even Erik ten Hag possibly selling Ronaldo. That will be a grave mistake. Ronaldo still has a lot to give and he will continue doing so.

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There is no guarantee of how much the board is willing to spend after heavy investment in 2021. Ronaldo is a mentor and leader in the locker room so any young striker will be taken under his wing.

In addition, United can also promote Alejandro Garnacho who is a noted superfan of Ronaldo. Therefore, the continued presence of the Portuguese legend till 2023 will benefit all parties.


The question of whether Cristiano Ronaldo should stay or go beyond 2021-22 will be a matter of debate for a long time. Only the incoming manager will be able to provide clarity. There is no doubt that Ronaldo will only stay if he remains a starter. Therefore, United have to be careful in how they handle this situation in fear of alienating one of the club’s all-time greats.

Ratul Ghosh
His name means Red and a fan of devilish food, which equals to his favourite team being Manchester United. Can be found sleeping or in front of the TV otherwise. Hates waking up early but loves staying up late for football.

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