We almost knew that Cristiano Ronaldo was going to return to Manchester United at some point after leaving the club in 2009. He made the highly-anticipated return at the start of the 2021/22 Premier League campaign. However, things did not go as planned for the Portuguese superstar and the team.
The Red Devils are struggling badly to find the right chemistry and momentum with several high-profile stars on the pitch.
Manchester United are miles away even from the battle for the top-four finish and a place in the UEFA Champions League next season. However, neither their fans nor Cristiano Ronaldo fans believe that the Red Devils have said their final word in the battle for the elite continental competition next season.
Not with one of the most prolific goalscorers in the history of the game in their ranks.
Can Cristiano Ronaldo take Manchester United to the next level and return them to where they belong, or will he just leave the team and go back to Portugal as soon as the unsuccessful season ends?
We have asked this question to John Pentin, leading sports betting and football analyst at Betting Tips 4 You.
High Ambitions – Poor Results
Manchester United have significantly strengthened the squad with the arrivals of Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Raphael Varane ahead of the 2021/22 season. They kept the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, etc. The defense should be rock solid with Harry Maguire at the center back and Luke Shaw at the left-back. Both men enjoyed an outstanding campaign at the Euro 2020 (played in the summer of 2021).
However, something went wrong right from the start of the season as Manchester United rapidly lost ground on the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea in the battle for the title. The board decided to make a managerial change as a consequence of such poor results, replacing Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer with the former Hoffenheim manager Ralf Rangnick.
Can Ralf Rangnick Shift the Team’s Fortunes Around?
The German manager arrived at Old Trafford as a potential savior, but we have not seen anything to convince us that he has what it takes to turn the course of the season around. Rangnick did not make plenty of changes to the team’s playing style and the starting lineup. Unlike Solskjaer, Rangnick decided to trust Jadon Sancho more, giving the former Borussia Dortmund star more time on the pitch than he had under the former head coach.
Nevertheless, Jadon Sancho is yet to shine as he did in the BVB shirt in the last several seasons. He is doing nothing to justify his hefty price tag these days. Overall, the team does not look good at all. They struggle both offensively and defensively, and there is just nothing to suggest better days for their fans.
Will Cristiano Step Up?
The main question now is whether Cristiano Ronaldo has what it takes to step up and take his Manchester United team to the old glory. He certainly has the will to do so. It is easily recognizable in the effort the Portuguese superstar puts whenever he is on the pitch. He often scores late winners, and the joy on his face, whenever he does so, reveals the passion.
Nevertheless, Cristiano Ronaldo is no longer a young man. He is 36-year-old. Can he physically be at the level required to take this team back where it belongs? One thing is certain Cristiano Ronaldo can’t do it on his own. Not at this age. He needs the other stars around him to step up and raise their game as soon as possible before it becomes too late.
We are starting to wonder whether Ralf Rangnick is the man to lead this team? Someone just has to put the pieces of the puzzle in the right order. Manchester United have the squads capable of challenging the best teams in both England and Europe.
Will We See United in the Champions League Next Season?
Although the elite continental competition seems to be far away for the Red Devils at the halfway point of the season, we see them inside the top-four at the end of the Premier League season. The Red Devils will start playing their best football sooner or later. You know how they say, form is temporary, but class is permanent. Well, they just can’t drop points against the likes of Newcastle United or Burnley all season long.
The negative trend just can’t last forever when you have such a strong group of players in your ranks. If you are a Man United fan, do not worry. This Red Devils team has what it takes to finish the Premier League season inside the top four and book a ticket for the elite continental competition football next season.
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