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Cristiano Ronaldo not suited to pressing game, Ralf Rangnick admits

Ralf Rangnick and Cristiano Ronaldo leave the pitch after Manchester United's loss to Middlesbrough on penalties in the FA Cup.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Manchester United's interim manager Ralf Rangnick has admitted that Cristiano Ronaldo is not ideally suited to the way he likes to play football.

Ronaldo has scored 24 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions for United in 2021-22 since his sensational return to Old Trafford, including 18 in the Premier League.

However, the 37-year-old has also conditioned the way Rangnick's side can play and the German has hinted that the Portuguese may have been part of the problem in an ultimately disappointing campaign for the club.

Rangnick initially looked to instill a pressing plan at United, but claims he soon realised it would be impossible.

"At one stage, even when we played away for example at Newcastle or Norwich, we just realised that it was difficult," he said.

"We had no pre-season, we couldn’t really physically develop and raise the level of the team."

"But again, believe me, I am the one who is most disappointed about that and frustrated about that. 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?"

And on Ronaldo, he said: "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.

"He’s not a player - even when he was a young player - he was not a young player who was crying, shouting 'hurry, the other team has got the ball, where can we win balls?'

"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 - but, as I said, we never found the right balance between what do we need with the ball and without the ball."

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Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.