Cristiano Ronaldo may have secured a sensational return to Manchester United, but it’s been far from the dream reunion, and things could get worse following a managerial change
It’s almost unheard of that Cristiano Ronaldo is in a position where he must impress the manager, but the five-time Ballon d’Or winner finds himself in a potentially awkward situation at Manchester United.
Ralf Rangnick is expected to be named as United’s interim boss until the end of the season, but Michael Carrick will continue to remain in the dugout this weekend as the Red Devils travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea.
Chelsea are flying high as league leaders, and Ronaldo is enjoying a prolific season back at United despite their woes performance wise, but the Portuguese star may have to prove himself on Sunday.
Although Ronaldo rarely struggles to find the net, his record against Chelsea isn’t as successful as you might expect.
Despite closing in on 800 career goals, Ronaldo has struggled to find much success against Chelsea, as the Portuguese star has only scored once in 15 appearances against the Blues.
The lone goal did come on the biggest stage of all though, as Ronaldo scored past Petr Cech in the 2008 Champions League final, but even then he was unsuccessful from the spot as the game headed for penalties.
United were victorious on the night, but Ronaldo’s struggles have persisted domestically and the now 36-year-old has never scored against Chelsea in English competition.
Ronaldo faces an extremely difficult test to break his duck too, as Thomas Tuchel has made his Chelsea side almost impossible to break down, although if there is one man to do the job, ironically it is the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
The imminent arrival of Rangnick brings optimism yet uncertainty, as the German has a very specific style of play, which alienates Ronaldo all together.
Rangnick is renowned for revolutionising modern German tactics, founding gegenpressing, as he sets up his players to press from the front, sustaining a high-intensity throughout that game.
However, pressing isn’t something that Ronaldo has ever done, and it’s unlikely that the 36-year-old will see a drastic change in his game now, meaning that the German could opt for younger stars such as Marcus Rashford or Mason Greenwood in attack.
For Rangnick’s system to work, everyone has to be invested as just one weak link in the chain can cause the entire operation to collapse, leaving Ronaldo in limbo as he presents himself as a major risk, despite all of the positives that he brings.
Either Rangnick stays true to his system and potentially benches Ronaldo, or he trusts the Portuguese star, hoping that he will perform and prove him wrong.
This therefore makes Chelsea the ultimate audition, despite Carrick taking charge, as it is almost a guarantee that Rangnick’s first starting line-up will be influenced by United’s performance at Stamford Bridge.