Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford capped a busy summer for Ten Hag’s predecessor, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was expected to challenge for the Premier League title after snaring Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane. However the Norwegian was axed in November with United floundering within the league, and Carragher is adamant that the signing of Ronaldo was a significant reason why United didn’t construct on the second-placed finish that they had clinched the 12 months before.
Writing in his Telegraph column back in February, Carragher said: “Cristiano Ronaldo’s invaluable contribution to Manchester United’s Premier League win over Brighton was one other reminder of his unparalleled appetite for goals. Nevertheless it doesn’t change this reality: United made a mistake re-signing Ronaldo last summer. It is going to be a much bigger one keeping him next season.
“I know the way contentious that sounds. It is simple to list the various magnificent qualities Ronaldo possesses which make him one among the best players we now have seen. He stays one among the final word goalscorers, having evolved to turn out to be a penalty box predator, liable to deliver when his team most needs it – as against Villarreal and Atalanta – to lengthen United’s Champions League campaign. You wouldn’t bet against him scoring over 20 goals this season.
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Even though it could seem scandalous to suggest that Ten Hag’s task at Manchester United could also be made easier by the absence of this 12 months’s leading scorer and the club’s talisman, it could well prove to be true.
Ronaldo’s departure would give Ten Hag a clean slate up front and the possibility to mould a squad within the image of the high-octane team that brought him a lot success in Holland, while the absence of a player who was chargeable for causing some high-profile controversy last season should ensure United’s recent boss doesn’t must contend with any unnecessary drama in his recent role.
Manchester United would obviously have to exchange Ronaldo, who has turn out to be the club’s talisman again over the past 12 months, but they might find yourself being stronger without him if Ten Hag is given the time and resources to construct a correct team in Ronaldo’s absence and stop the club from relying so heavily on one man.