Ronaldo In Form United Not
As expected, the world’s leading international goalscorer has hit the ground running on his return to English football, netting six times in his opening nine games across all competitions.
However, results have not matched expectations, especially after the club splurged in the transfer market just a matter of months ago.
With Ronaldo the legendary figure that he is, blame will rarely be pointed in his direction – and given the career he has had, it is likely that he will hold more power in the dressing room than under-fire boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Was Ronaldo Part Of United's Plans?
But two-time Premier League winner Paul Ince believes the Portugal captain was secured because he was suddenly available, not because he was a vital part of United’s plans going forward.
Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “There was a lot of hoodwinking going on, I don’t know if his agent was using City to try and drag United into it.
“When it happened, it was like the Glazer’s giving a present to the United fans – ‘We bought you Ronaldo back, return of the prodigal son back.’
“It was also a merchandise and commercial move, like Lionel Messi going to PSG and the amount of shirts he sells, from a business point of view, it was a smart move.
“I just don’t know whether the way Ronaldo plays, or the way Ronaldo is, is stopping United from playing the way they should be playing.”
Ronaldo's Frustrations Becoming Disruptive?
Having left for Real Madrid in 2009 as a winger, CR7 has evolved into one of the greatest out-and-out attackers the game has ever seen.
But after over a decade of scoring for fun on the continent with Los Blancos and later Juventus, there was always likely to be a spell where things did not go to plan back in England – and Ince believes his frustrations might be a problem for the Red Devils.
“He’s not the Ronaldo of 12 years ago when he was up and down the wing. Now, he stays between the two posts,” he explained.
“If United don’t get the ball to him, as we’ve seen in the last couple of games, he starts dropping deeper and deeper to try and get it, then all of a sudden United are playing without a centre-forward.
“They tend to go square all the time, it’s too pedestrian, it’s too sidewards. That’s when Ronaldo will get frustrated and that’s when he just needs to be feeling that he’s doing something.”
Solskjaer Needs To Stamp His Authority
With such a big character in the dressing room, there are fears that two competing leaders could emerge – and Ince has suggested that Solskjaer needs to make it clear who is in charge.
“Once we signed Ronaldo, it was only going one of two ways; it was either going to be a dream season or an absolute nightmare,” he said.
“Obviously after two or three games when he was scoring goals, you thought, ‘what a bit of business this is’, but then, all of a sudden when things don’t happen, we know what Ronaldo is like, he wants to win.
“If he’s not scoring goals and if he’s not getting the ball, he’s not going to be happy and he will show those emotions.
“Ole has to deal with that and forget about all this ‘mates’ business. He has got to put
the message out that he’s in charge, he’s the boss, he’s the one making the decisions.
“Sometimes you kind of feel like Cristiano Ronaldo’s return is probably like he’s running the
The jury remains out on the global icon’s second spell to Manchester. There is no doubt that he is still hitting the same heights as ever individually, but whether United will benefit is another matter altogether.