Ronaldo ‘power’ dip a problem alongside ‘ordinary footballers’ – Souness

Date published: Sunday 28th November 2021 1:28 - Will Ford

Graeme Souness

Graeme Souness says Cristiano Ronaldo’s loss of “power and strength” means he can’t play every game alongside the “ordinary footballers” at Manchester United.

Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford in the summer and has scored ten goals in 14 appearances this season.

But United’s displays have been poor in recent games, with many suggesting Ronaldo is causing more problems than he solves in the side.


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And although Souness says he too would have signed Ronaldo, he would have held an “honest conversation” with the Portuguese star about what he can bring to the squad, while lowering his expectation of playing every game.

Souness told the Times (via Metro): “I’d have taken Cristiano Ronaldo all day long, but I’d also have had a honest conversation with him: ‘You’ll get plenty of game time, but you won’t be starting every game.’

“I still can’t think of a better impact sub, but he’s no longer the player he was — you just can’t be at 36. He may look magnificent when he takes his top off, but you lose power and strength.

“I’d also have said: ‘I’m looking for you to teach these young guys about turning up on time, looking after yourself and training properly, to be the example that takes this club back to greatness.’

“He can still give you all that, but he’s not going to be the go-to man every Saturday, certainly not against the stronger sides. Against Liverpool and Manchester City, he never got a kick because he’s playing with ordinary footballers.”

Meanwhile, Paul Merson has criticised United over their imminent appointment of Ralf Rangnick as interim manager.

“Why do they need an interim manager? Because they don’t know what they’re doing at the moment, in my opinion,” Merson told Sky Sports.

“Ole would have been at the club still today if it wasn’t for two goals in the last minute at Watford. I don’t think there was any plan. They didn’t think in their wildest dreams it was going to end up like that at Watford.

“At 2-1, I think he’s still in charge come Sunday. I think they were going to keep it going as long as they could.

“Now, to bring in a manager… I’m hearing people going how great he is – but he’s never managed in England, he’s never managed one of the top teams in the world. Why is that? Why has no one else come in for him when managers have been up?

“I hear great things about him, people saying he’s going to press and he’s hard working and he’s turned lesser teams into real contenders. But that’s a lot different, getting a Schalke or a Hoffenheim to a certain stage.

“When you’re asked to go to one of the biggest clubs in the world and they already have superstars and you’ve got to make them play… it’s all right at Schalke and Hoffenheim because they’re going to listen and they want to get there.

“These [United] players are there and you have got to get them to go again.

“I think this is going to be difficult, this is going to be a lot harder than what people think.

“What I’m hearing is it’s like a gimme, he’ll come in and that will be it. That Man Utd are lucky. I’m not sure about that.”

 

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