A look back on Ralf Rangnick's admission about Cristiano Ronaldo

New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has been dealt an unwanted problem by Cristiano Ronaldo’s request to leave the club, per BBC Sport.

Ten Hag must decide whether to fight to persuade Ronaldo to stay another year, or agree to cut him loose and bring in a replacement.

Former United interim boss Ralf Rangnick would be in favour of Ronaldo’s departure, because he felt the team had to compromise too much to accommodate him.

Now is a good time to reflect on comments made by Rangnick via The Athletic at the end of last season.

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Ralf Rangnick’s admission about Cristiano Ronaldo

Rangnick felt Ronaldo was simply not a fit for the pressing style of football he wanted to introduce, and cited this as one of the reasons his spell in charge failed.

The Austria manager said: “I agree we never came near to that aggressive, pro-active football,”

“At one stage we just had to find compromises — attacking a little bit deeper, how can we make sure that we get our offensive players into their positions?

“Cristiano scored a few goals but, again, Cristiano — and I’m not blaming him at all, he did great in those games – but he’s not a pressing monster. He’s not a player – even when he was a young player – he was not a young player who was crying, shouting “Hurray, the other team has got the ball, where can we win balls?”

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With Ronaldo dropping deep, it meant United frequently did not have a player in the box to get on the end of crosses, and despite the 37-year-old’s excellent production late in the season, by this point the damage was done.

Ronaldo did superbly to end the season with 24 goals in all competitions, and nobody can knock him for this. But there is a real sense that United will be a more cohesive team set up around a different striker.

Erik ten Hag has so far been publicly optimistic about utilising Ronaldo, explaining in his opening press conference that he is happy to work with him. Now he has a potential get-out, if he secretly shares the same fears Rangnick expressed, now is the time to cut ties and let him leave.

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