Fortunes at Manchester United may be set to change with the Red Devils are set to appoint Ralf Rangnick as their interim manager, which may not be good news for Cristiano Ronaldo
Manchester United may be on the cusp of appointing a top-quality short-term fix for their woes in the shape of Ralf Rangnick, but it could come at a very significant cost.
United are currently sitting in eighth place in the Premier League and have been in freefall down the table.
They have suffered three humiliating defeats in their last four league fixtures, and the 4-1 defeat at the hands of Watford was the final nail in the coffin for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was sacked last Sunday.
The Athletic have revealed that the Red Devils are in advanced talks with former RB Leipzig manager Rangnick on a six-month deal before he will then take up a consultancy role at the club for two years.
Of course, the news has been very well-received, but potentially not by United forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese international is, undoubtedly, one of the best players in the Premier League, but his work off the ball has been questionable.
Of course, it is hard to tell a five-time Ballon d’Or what he needs to do, but his playstyle will not suit Rangnick’s.
According to fbref, of all the players in the Premier League, Ronaldo is 293rd for most pressures applied to an opposition player (39). The former Real Madrid forward averages 2.07 presses in the final third per 90 and only seven of his presses this season have been successful.
Put simply, these numbers aren’t good enough for a team managed by Rangnick, no matter who you are. United are appointing someone who is strong-minded and focuses on tactics and outwitting the opposition, although to some he is undroppable, Ronaldo may no longer be that.
The German boss is famed for his high-intensity, high-pressing, aggressive tactics. The 62-year-old wants his forwards to put the oppositions’ defenders constantly under pressure, giving them no time to fuel attacks from deep and build momentum.
Rangnick sets his team up in a standard 4-4-2 formation, allowing his side to have plenty of numbers forward when on the attack but also a sense of solidity defensively.
Tactically, when out of possession, Rangnick drills his team to win the ball back as high up the pitch as possible. As soon as the ball is lost, he expects his side to be hunting down the ball like a pack of wolves, desperately trying to win the ball back in a position where the opposition will be vulnerable to an attack and outnumbered.
For Ronaldo, that has never truly been his game.
The former Sporting star is one of the greatest footballers of all time, but only when his team has possession. In years gone by you will very rarely have seen the ex-Juventus forward busting a gut on the retreat, instead he’ll be lurking on the shoulder of the last man anticipating one of his teammates doing the dirty work and firing it forward. It is not a criticism of the player, as Ronaldo would not have been as successful as he has been without those quirks.
Tactics can, obviously, change and Rangnerick may make an exception to his playstyle and work around Ronaldo to implement him into his plans. The Red Devils have been crying out for a coach that can drill the team into being a unit for years and their soon-to-be appointment will achieve that, but although it is what his teammates need at this time, it may not be what Ronaldo needs in his last dance at Old Trafford.