• Analysis

Is Marcus Rashford really the next Cristiano Ronaldo?

Marcus Rashford, Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United
Getty Images

Marcus Rashford’s hot run of form has done wonders for Manchester United recently, but is he really going to be the next Cristiano Ronaldo?

Comparisons between Marcus Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo have skyrocketed recently following the Manchester United attacker’s brilliant form.

A tally of 10 goals in just 11 games across all competitions from Rashford has helped United enormously. Suddenly, they’re back in the mix for the Premier League top-four spots and into the Europa League knockout stages.

Therefore, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s bold move to offload Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez last summer is paying off.

The Norwegian’s faith in Rashford never wavered despite the latter’s difficult start to the season, where he struggled with the burden of United’s main goalscorer.

“I think for a forward, consistency plays a big part,” said Rashford on his new-found form.

“I’ve been playing every game in the league and have been getting regular chances in front of goal as well.

“When you feel good in front of goal, and you’re getting regular opportunities, if you miss a few it doesn’t matter because you’re confident that when the next one comes you’ll put it away.”

So it’s only natural that Solskjaer has heaped praise on him following his terrific turnaround. However, could the comparisons to his former team-mate Ronaldo be a step too far?

Rashford vs Ronaldo in stats

Solskjaer has noted the inevitable similarities between the pair frequently. He claimed it is “easy to compare” as they both have similar “skills, body shape, attitude and attributes”.

While Rashford’s free-kick against Chelsea in a Carabao Cup clash in October was so Ronaldo-like. In fact, It was what really set the comparisons in motion.

The pacey 22-year-old also has a tendency to get the ball forward and play with an attacking mindset, much like Ronaldo did during his Old Trafford days.

And The Times made an interesting comparison between the duo after 127 Premier League games for United.

Naturally, Ronaldo made more starts (94) and played more minutes (8,924) in his 127 outings having instantly made Sir Alex Ferguson’s line-up following his arrival from Sporting CP in 2003.

The 814-minute difference between them is an eye-catching one as that could sum up to about roughly nine matches.

Although, perhaps, Rashford may have fared better in this respect had it not been for all managerial changes. He’s already played under three different coaches in his relatively young Red Devils career.

But the England international outshines Ronaldo at what he excels in – scoring goals.

The now-Juventus man is three goals shy of Rashford’s tally of 37 and took an average 262 minutes to score compared to the youngster’s 219.

What makes this even more impressive for Rashford is that his 256 attempts on goal is far less than Ronaldo’s 471. Therefore, his conversion rate of 14.5 beats the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s 7.2.

In all fairness, though, Ronaldo spent his entire Old Trafford career on the wings.

But he did at least have the edge in terms of assists, with 22 compared to Rashford’s 18.

What now for the young striker?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Marcus Rashford, Cristiano Ronaldo
Gettyimages ( Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford)

While these comparisons do make a flattering reading, it’s still a tad bit too early to hail Rashford as the next Ronaldo.

The Portugal captain has improved exceptionally since leaving United for Real Madrid in 2009. He’s also kept his unbelievable form going for over a decade, while Rashford is barely getting started.

It’s also worth noting that The Times’ stats were from different eras.

“It’s just a thing people like to do with forwards so it’s obviously nice, definitely a compliment,” he said on the comparisons via Sky Sports.

“For me, I understand how far I’ve got left to go to reach the heights they reached so I am very clear-minded and just focused on myself.”

So the key now for Rashford is to keep up his strong form for the remainder of the season.

He will return to action on Sunday for United’s next Premier League match against Everton.