Manchester United may be on the verge of naming a top-notch short-term fix for their woes in the form of Ralf Rangnick, but it could come at a massive cost.
United are currently in eighth place in the Premier League and are in free fall.
They have suffered three humiliating defeats in their last four league games, and the 4-1 loss at the hands of Watford was the final nail in the coffin of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was sacked last Sunday.
Athletic have revealed that the Red Devils are in advanced talks with ex-RB Leipzig manager Rangnick for a six-month contract before he then took on a consulting role at the club for two years.
Of course, the news was very well received, but potentially not by United striker Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portugal international is, without a doubt, one of the best players in the Premier League, but his work off the ball has been questionable.
Sure, it’s hard to tell a five-time Ballon d’Or what to do, but his style of play won’t suit Rangnick’s.
According to fbref, of all Premier League players, Ronaldo is 293rd for the most pressure exerted on an opposing player (39). The former Real Madrid forward averages 2.07 presses in the final third for 90 and only seven of his presses this season have been successful.
Put simply, those numbers aren’t good enough for a Rangnick-led team no matter who you are. United are appointing someone who is strong-minded and focuses on tactics and outwits the opposition, although for some he is unfazed, Ronaldo may not be anymore.
The German boss is famous for his aggressive, high intensity, pressing and aggressive tactics. The 62-year-old wants his attackers to constantly put pressure on opposition defenders, not giving them time to fuel deep attacks and build momentum.
Rangnick sets up his team in a standard 4-4-2 formation, allowing his team to have a lot of numbers ahead when attacking, but also a sense of solidity defensively.
Tactically, when out of possession, Rangnick trains his team to retrieve the ball as high as possible on the pitch. As soon as the ball is lost, he expects his team to chase the ball like a pack of wolves, desperately trying to get the ball back in a position where the opposition will be vulnerable to attack and outnumbered.
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For Ronaldo, it was never really his game.
The former Sporting star is one of the greatest footballers of all time, but only when his team have the ball. In years gone by you will very rarely have seen the former Juventus striker break his stomach during retirement, instead he will hide on the shoulder of the last man anticipating one of his teammates making the dirty work and pulling it forward. This is not a criticism of the player, as Ronaldo wouldn’t have been as successful as he has been without those quirks.
Tactics can, of course, change and Rangnerick can make an exception to his style of play and bypass Ronaldo to incorporate it into his plans. The Red Devils have been calling for a coach who has been able to forge the team into a unit for years and their upcoming appointment will achieve that goal, but while that’s what his teammates need right now, it can’t be. – not be what they need. Ronaldo needs his last dance at Old Trafford.