It was a major surprise when Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United this season. Could he revitalize the Reds?
Now we’re just months away from the end of the Premier League season and the question is, will Ronaldo still be at Old Trafford next season?
Even the arrival of Ronaldo hasn’t seen Manchester United challenge for the Premier League. They are over 20 points behind their local rivals Manchester City. Perhaps the Portuguese international should have joined them instead of United.
Their hopes of FA Cup glory went up in smoke in the fourth round. Who’d have bet on Ronaldo missing a penalty against Championship side Middlesbrough? He may have scored one in the penalty shootout but United ended up losing that.
Ronaldo won’t be adding to his list of league championship winners medals this season. The only hope of a medal this season is in the Champions League. United play Atletico Madrid in the last 16 but they don’t look anything like a team that can win the competition.
All of which will leave United chasing a top four finish in the Premier League. That’s going to be a tight battle, with several teams below them at present having games in hand. What if United don’t qualify for the Champions League as some bookies fear?
Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t the kind of player who wants to play in the Europa League. There’s even a chance that Manchester United don’t qualify for European competition at all. If either scenario takes place, will that be enough to keep Ronaldo at Old Trafford?
Recent years have seen Ronaldo score a hatful of league goals, whether it be in La Liga or Serie A. That’s not been the case this season with Manchester United. After the game at Burnley – where he began the match on the bench – he had still only scored eight league goals (and two of those came in his debut against Newcastle).
He’s been struggling for goals since December and only 14 goals have been scored in all competitions. He’s scored at least 30 in 11 of the last 12 seasons. Reaching that total looks extremely unlikely this term.
The final months of this season are going to be full of speculation over his future. It’s a difficult time at Old Trafford with two managers this season and a new one likely to be place for next season. Ronaldo isn’t the kind of player who likes to be left on the bench when he hasn’t got an injury problem. Least of all for an away game at Burnley that United just had to win.
Life under interim manager Ralf Ragnick doesn’t seem to be enjoyable for Ronaldo. There’s the uncertainty over who will be in charge next season. Will it be someone who can turn United into title challengers again or continue their inability to get anywhere near Manchester City? Are the rumours of him being disillusioned true?
Ronaldo is approaching the end of his career. He doesn’t want to spend his final seasons playing in the Europa League. Nor does he want to be sat on a bench watching another disappointing Manchester United display.
Could perhaps Real Madrid tempt him back to Spain? Or is it possible, PSG will attempt to have a team that has both Messi and Ronaldo in it? There are some interesting months ahead and plenty of tabloid stories no doubt.