Cristiano Ronaldo not a central striker says Ralf Rangnick
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 24 goals this season for Manchester United, continuing to defy his doubters.
The Portuguese superstar has been consistently proving people wrong his whole career, and manager Ralf Rangnick explained the challenges he has faced this season.
Rangnick believes Ronaldo has a real dilemma in the modern game, because the number 7 does not like to play as a lone striker.
But as the interim boss points out, not many teams like to play with two centre-forwards, with a variant of the 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 a more popular tactic.
‘Ronaldo not a central striker’
Rangnick explained via his press conference, quoted by Metro: “It is also important how Cristiano sees himself and his position.
“Cristiano is not a central striker, he also does not want to play in that position.
“In order to not play central, you have to play with two strikers as we did in the last 15 minutes or in my first game against Crystal Palace or the second one against Norwich, and even in the second-half against Newcastle.
“But if you look at international football, there are not many top teams who play with two strikers.
“Most of the international top teams either play with three strikers or a false nine, so for me it’s not a question of position, it’s a question of what kind of quality players Manchester United have in the future.”
It is worth noting that during his time at Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo featured in a similar formation, but he has always liked to drift out wide, the position where he began his career as a tricky winger.
United need more otions
Rangnick showed a willingness to innovate tactically in his early weeks at the club, but then saw his options limited for various reasons.
Mason Greenwood was a player he favoured, and he was made unavailable for selection after January, while Anthony Martial was loaned, and Edinson Cavani started only one game since January due to injury.
Marcus Rashford’s woeful form has meant he has not been an option used much either, which has left Ronaldo to lead the line by himself.
Ronaldo frequently drops deep to join the link-up play, rather than stand on the last man. Despite this conflict of attacking intent, he has scored a staggering 24 goals, with 18 in the Premier League, with two games remaining.
As Rangnick points out, United’s task is to make Ronaldo’s job easier, by surrounding him with reliable attacking options. This task begins in the transfer market this summer, with United needing to build for the future.
Next season we could see an even better, more prolific Cristiano Ronaldo, if the team is constructed to play to his strengths. Even though the tactics of today’s game may not suit him as well as the past, Ronaldo is still good enough to adapt.