Ronaldo's Man Utd Future in Spotlight With Dutch Legend Advising Erik ten Hag Against Dropping Him
Cristiano Ronaldo's Man United journey has seen two completely contrasting eras. While in his first spell, the Portugal skipper won multiple Premier League titles and a Champions League trophy from 2003 to 2009, his second stint has drawn massive criticism, with many blaming him for the club's current rut.
Ever since Manchester United confirmed the appointment of Erik ten Hag as their next full-time manager, Cristiano Ronaldo
's Old Trafford future has come under intense speculation. Reports in the British press have even suggested that CR7 is not in the Dutchman's scheme of things.
But Netherlands legend Marco van Basten has advised ten Hag
against dropping the former Real Madrid talisman from his first team at United because he's still the most in-form player at the club.
Ronaldo has been the silver-lining in United's disappointing run of late, as he delivered a splendid hat-trick against Norwich City to give them a much needed victory earlier this month.
Last weekend, Ronaldo put up another stellar show as he was the lone scorer in United's 3-1 loss to Arsenal. His performance was all the more laudable, considering it came days after his newborn son's death, who passed away in a Madrid hospital recently.
And van Basten believes that if the Funchal-born football star continues to perform like he has been doing, ten Hag will find no reason to keep him out of his plans at the club.
"If Ronaldo carries on playing like he did last week (against Norwich) and scores two or three goals in a match on a regular basis, there is no need to take him out of the team", van Basten told American podcast The Rondo Show. "Ronaldo is a player who does his own thing, but as long as he delivers, you have to give him a place in the team. Ten Hag will take into account that he cannot ask the same things physically from Cristiano Ronaldo that he will be asking of an 18-year-old".
Van Basten emphasised the fact that Ronaldo has been a hard worker all his life and has always focused on improving his game and that's why he would have no problem working with ten Hag.
"Of course Ronaldo will need to work hard – but I am sure he will work hard because I can see ten Hag having an influence on him to get him to play how he wants", he concluded.
Van Basten is among a select group of ex-footballers who have spoken in favour of Ronaldo extending his tenure at Carrington. Former United icons Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville have also thrown their weight behind the five-time Ballon d'Or winner in the past.
But others, including ex-England captain Wayne Rooney
, have said that United made a mistake by signing Ronaldo. Instead they should have brought some talented youngsters because the club needs "fresher legs" to reinvigorate itself and the ex-Juventus attacker wasn't the man who could usher such a turnaround.
Despite the negativity surrounding his role at United, Ronaldo has been their top scorer this term, having scored 22 goals in 36 appearances across competitions.
His heroics, however, have remained unfruitful, as Ralf Rangnick's boys are currently sixth in the Premier League table and chances of a top-4 finish are all but over for them.