Manchester United will fair better without Ronaldo

The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo brought with it so many positives, both to the squad and the club.

Since going back to Old Trafford for a second stint, the question on everyone’s lips wasn’t if Ronaldo would score goals. It wasn’t even about the number of goals he would score. It was whether he would fit into this United team’s strategy.

On the goal front, CR7, the five-time Balon d’Or winner hasn’t disappointed. He has scored five goals in just four Champion League games. He scored against Tottenham with an exquisite finish over the weekend.

While the Portuguese won’t lack goals in the coming weeks or months, question marks remain. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now has a big problem even he would gladly love to do without.

Ronaldo is famous for many things, one of them being his ego. At every club that he has been in, he always wants all to revolve around him – rumors, goals, tactics, and salary. He has to be the centerpiece of everything.

Former teammate Leonardo Bonucci mentioned earlier in the season that his squad is happy to have let go of a central figure who is constantly the focus. In the case of Juventus, they reached the UCL final in 2015 and 2017, played the quarter-final in 2018, and brought in Ronaldo to win them the prize.

Eventually, in his last season, they couldn’t even win the Serie A. In his second season under Maurizio Sarri, the team barely won the Italian League. During all of this, Ronaldo kept putting in the goals as recorded by However, goals can be a misleading metric of a player’s impact.

It is becoming clearer at United. Ronaldo doesn’t have a problem with scoring goals – ugly, beautiful, sublime, penalties. Bring it on! But the team risks losing its identity. The team risks losing its close-knit structure as everyone now has to bow to the one player who is seemingly above all.

This has certainly been true at United. Football has changed since the arrival of the former Real Madrid forward. While they played through the center previously, there are more crosses put into the box searching for the magician.

The Norwegian coach had initially marginalized Edison Cavani with Ronaldo’s arrival, but a reinstatement against Spurs made it clear just how much energy United needs upfront that Ronaldo just can’t give. He doesn’t close the lines of the opposition team. He hardly applies pressure coercing them to give away the ball.

It is evident that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have to go back to the drawing board if he doesn’t want to have Ronaldo’s goals, but the contribution of every team member.