Ralf Rangnick believes Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo does not suit a high-pressing system
According to the Mirror, outgoing manager Ralf Rangnick has suggested that Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is an ill fit for the high-pressing style he tried to implement at Old Trafford.
The godfather of modern German football, Rangnick admitted to abandoning his idea of making Man United press from the front. The 63-year-old cited the physical conditioning of the squad which could not adapt to his infamous tactics.
The manager did not hold back in admitting that Ronaldo, despite all of his abilities, could not cope with what was asked of him. An infallible goalscorer, the veteran has netted 24 goals for the Red Devils across all competitions this season.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of his final match against Crystal Palace Rangnick praised the forward’s scoring record but conceded that he was not suited to a high-pressing system.
“At one stage we just had to find compromises – attacking a little bit deeper, how can we make sure that we get our offensive players into their positions? Cristiano scored a few goals but, again, Cristiano – and I’m not blaming him at all, he did great in those games – but he’s not a pressing monster.”
The German goes on to admit that the shortcomings in his squad prevented him from striking a balance between tactics on the field. Man United never quite got going under Rangnick and it showed.
“And the same with quite a few other players so we had to make some compromises at one stage, maybe we made a few too many – that’s also possible. We never found the right balance between what do we need with the ball and without the ball. Even in possession of the ball, we didn’t create as many chances as we should have done.”
Does he fit the system?
Rangnick will be in charge of the Red Devils one final time at the Selhurst Park on Sunday before former Ajax Amsterdam head coach Erik ten Hag takes over as the new permanent manager.
After the final match against Palace, all eyes will turn towards the new gaffer, ten Hag who is likely to make several changes in the squad.
The assessment made by Rangnick on Ronaldo was linked with the playing style the new boss adheres to. The high-pressing style has worked wonders for Ajax under ten Hag. It was seen most notably during the 2019 Champions League campaign when they were mere seconds from making the showpiece final against Liverpool.
Ronaldo is making all attempts to keep himself fit over the summer to fight for titles next season. The question is whether he would fit in ten Hag’s high press style or will the new manager compromise with his playing style as Rangnick did previously. Either way, it cannot come at the cost of the club that has struggled for success in the last few seasons.
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Ronaldo could still have a role to play at Old Trafford in the coming seasons. Whether Man United will structure their rebuild around him remains to be seen.