Cristiano Ronaldo enters final phase of Manchester United development under Ralf Rangnick – Mike Parrott

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Manchester United started the Ralf Rangnick era perfectly by beating Crystal Palace 1-0.

United appeared to be a different team overnight, relentlessly pressing, controlling the game and dominating throughout. The 1-0 score didn’t tell the whole story, although Fred’s lone goal was a wonder.

Cristiano Ronaldo may not have contributed in his usual way with a goal, but this game could be the one that signals the start of something new for the grown-ups.

Ronaldo played as part of a two-man frontline with Marcus Rashford against Crystal Palace, which is rare for him. He played alongside Karim Benzema at Real Madrid, pulling off defensive streaks to take out the Frenchman.

Now it looks like Ronaldo has become the Benzema.

The Portuguese striker has achieved his most touches of the season with 55, by Sofascore. However, his pass counts included more crosses attempted, more passes attempted and completed, and even a key pass.

Ronaldo played like an old school forward, falling a little deeper to get the best of Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood in the second half with significant effects. Even though neither of those players scored, they looked much better, with all three having had some dangerous moments in the game.

Apart from his attacking abilities, Ronaldo was also pressing high, going the extra mile to get the ball back as quickly as possible.

Like Rangnick’s famous ‘countdown’ rule of getting the ball back in eight seconds, Ronaldo has done his best to stick to that principle. Perhaps fueled by the amount of criticism he has had since Rangnick announced that he will not be squeezing, he appears to have been negated by his performance.

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Even though many fans will see Ronaldo as having a relatively poor performance against Palace due to not being on the scoresheet, this development could be for the best.

While Ronaldo arguably isn’t human, he will still feel the painful inevitability of time taking away his athleticism. However, let’s assume Ronaldo can tailor his game more to the way he played against Crystal Palace, where he can use his physique, intelligence and immense power with the ball. In this case, Ronaldo can still easily be successful for many years to come.

What do you think of Cristiano Ronaldo’s performance? Follow our editor United On My Mind Mike parrot on Twitter to join the discussion and give us your feedback in the comments section below.



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