Ralf Rangnick (left) has been coaching Cristiano Ronaldo since early December. Photo: www.imago-images.de / Sebastian Frej
22/01/2022, 11:0422.01.2022, 14:10
Last Wednesday, there was again reason to celebrate for Manchester United. After two games without a win in a row, the “Red Devils” were able to beat Brentford 3-1 in a catch-up match. But not everyone had a smile on their face.
When Cristiano Ronaldo was substituted in the 71st minute, the Portuguese threw his jacket on the ground and demanded an explanation from Rangnick for his decision. The two actively discussed during the game. In the end, Ronaldo seemed satisfied with the coach’s explanation.
“Bad gossip in Manchester says some players simply dislike Rangnick’s tactical ideas and prefer to do their own thing.”
It certainly speaks to Rangnick’s situation in his new club and also the special status of “CR7” that this conversation was so civilized. Or even have a conversation. Rangnick would have immediately chased many others into the stadium catacombs and probably folded them again later. But the 63-year-old German is somewhat dependent on Ronaldo.
Cristiano Ronaldo is rarely happy when he is replaced.Photo: PA Wire / Mike Egerton
expectations not met
When Rangnick took over as interim coach for Manchester United in early December, hopes in and around the club were high. Rangnick was considered a visionary, a tactical fox, the foster father of Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, who were successful in the Premier League. What could go wrong with such a “mastermind”? Just a month and a half later, the mood has changed.
Rangnick’s football expertise is not in itself questionable, but he is also not an undisputed rescuer. The former Leipzig coach had to say goodbye to his 4-2-2-2 system early on after realizing it would not work with this team. Angry tongues in Manchester claim that some players just do not like Rangnick’s tactical ideas and prefer to do their own thing.
Her own stuff has not been crowned with success in recent times. United have not played a role in the championship race for a long time. The proud club is right now in seventh place and within striking distance of the Champions League series. The requirements are, of course, completely different. But even Rangnick will probably not do justice to this for the remainder of his term.
Ronaldo does not fit into the Rangnicks
Apart from the coaching staff, United now lack leaders. The captain’s armband is worn by Harry Maguire, who is not even an undisputed regular player because of his performances. Otherwise, there are many followers on the track and also those who are always on edge with their performance. The only one who still exudes confidence, at least outwardly, is Cristiano Ronaldo.
In August last year, he celebrated his return to the club, where he once celebrated his international breakthrough. Of course, most at United were aware that the 36-year-old could not be a long-term solution. But many had hoped for at least a short-lived push. Ronaldo is still one of the important goals – he has scored a total of 14 in his 22 competitive matches so far this season.
Ronaldo is United’s top scorer in all tournaments.Credit: PA Images Contributor / Mark Pain
But he has a hard time shaking off his diva-like behavior. After the first few matches, it seemed like he integrated well with Rangnick’s press system, Ronaldo is now back as a soloist as always.
His start-up behavior towards the ball leaves much to be desired, in a two-man attack he does not move from the inside and outside as usual and IIn general, it seems that the Portuguese still believes that United’s game system should be built around him. There are other players, such as Bruno Fernandes, who could also claim this, but of course they do not.
Ronaldo wants to convey happiness
Manchester sources say Rangnick and Ronaldo’s relationship is said to be quite strained. However, Ronaldo’s agents are doing everything they can to convince the British media in particular that their star loves United. In addition, the Portuguese recently gave an interview to Sky Sports in which he expressed his confidence in Rangnick.
But all PR measures are useless if Ronaldo does not follow the instructions of the interim coach on the pitch so everyone can see and then gets angry after a replacement. Rangnick will not dare lower Ronaldo. The otherwise so dominant coach can not afford it this time when he is dealing with a diva.