Ronaldo penalty exploits for Portugal adds pressure on United to make spot-kick decision
Cristiano Ronaldo scored three penalties against Luxembourg in Portugal’s 5-0 World Cup qualifying win, but only two counted towards his eventual hat-trick.
The 36-year-old was forced to take his second penalty again after Andre Silva encroached into the penalty area whilst Ronaldo was running up to take the spot-kick.
That didn’t deter United’s number seven as he went on to score his 58th career hat-trick and his tenth for his country.
But his penalty exploits are inevitably going to prompt the question probably as early as at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s pre match press conference against Leicester City, as to who will take our next penalty.
Only a matter of time for Ronaldo
United got their first spot-kick since Ronaldo re-signed in stoppage time against Aston Villa, but it was his compatriot Bruno Fernandes who stepped up to the plate.
But United’s number 18 uncharacteristically blazed the ball high over the ball, which prompted questions of whether it would be Ronaldo or Fernandes who takes the next one.
We haven’t had that scenario yet, but it is only a matter of time before we win our next penalty, possibly as soon as Leicester on Saturday.
However, after the last-gasp win against Villarreal, Bruno apparently told CBS Sport host Jules Breach he’d have been on penalties if United had got one in that game.
He added that Solskjaer makes the decision about who’s on penalties before every game.
Following Ronaldo’s success during the international break and with a crucial run of fixtures upon us, it does seem only a matter of time before Fernandes hands over the baton to the five time Ballon D’Or winner.
It’s a difficult decision for Solskjaer because he doesn’t want to upset the apple cart and for Fernandes to think being taken off penalties is a sign of distrust.
But ultimately Ronaldo is the best goalscorer and clutch player of all time, he thrives on those pressure situations.
United have two of the best penalty takers around and when neither the other is on the pitch it’s a no brainer of who will take them.
But once Ronaldo takes that first one, it’s highly unlikely that change in personnel will happen again during his entire second period at Old Trafford.
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