Marco van Basten urges Erik ten Hag to build around Cristiano Ronaldo

Incoming Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has been urged to build his team around superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Netherlands legend and former Ajax coach Marco van Basten has made the recommendation over the forward.

Van Basten told A Bola that there is ‘no need’ to take Ronaldo out of the team as, even at 37, he has proven himself a reliable goalscorer.

Ronaldo has struck 22 goals this season, including 16 in the Premier League, where he is the third highest scorer in the division, in a struggling team.

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 Advice for Ten Hag

Van Basten backed Ronaldo to play a role under incoming boss Ten Hag so long as he keeps up his form, and urged the manager not to listen to the press.

The Dutchman said: “If Ronaldo continues to play like he did, for example against Norwich [hat-trick] scoring regularly, there is no need to take him out of the team. 

“He is an individualist player, but as long as he continues to show results, he has to start. Tem Hag will know that he won’t be able to ask him the same as an 18-year-old.

“Of course Ronaldo will have to work hard, but I see Ten Hag having enough influence over him to make him play as he wants. I have one piece of advice for Erik: don’t look at what the press says when you start. 

“He will have to have a huge focus on his work, on training, on the team. If you do that, you can change everything at United.”

Photo by NESImages/vi/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Ten Hag is already on record talking up Cristiano Ronaldo’s work rate and dedication to his craft, while a video was released by Ajax showing the pair embracing during a Champions League tie in 2019.

Ronaldo has scored two hat-tricks this season for United, and even scored six goals in seven Champions League appearances.

United are still likely to try to bring in another forward, with Edinson Cavani set to leave on a free transfer, but as it stands, Ronaldo is still likely to play a major role in 2022/23, especially if Ten Hag listens to Van Basten’s advice.

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