Ralf Rangnick’s vision may spell bad news at Man Utd for Cristiano Ronaldo

Rangnick has insisted he prefers to coach younger players with more intensity


One player who may struggle with Rangnick’s methods is United’s superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who has hit double figures for the club so far this campaign.

Ronaldo has made just 39 ‘pressures’ this season in the Premier League, as per analysis from fbref.com – fewer than United’s central defenders Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane.

In addition to this, Ronaldo is now aged 36 – making his lack of pressing entirely understandable – and likely that he is unlikely to learn new methods from a coach at this stage in his career.

Rangnick has explained the difficulties with this in a previous interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, when speaking about the possibility of managing Zlatan Ibrahimovic – then aged 38 – at Milan, a move that never materialised.

Cristiano Ronaldo has already hit double figures for United this campaign

The German said: “I work on growth, and young players learn much faster.

“It’s not my style to focus on 38-year-old players, not because they’re not good enough, and Ibra certainly is, but because I prefer to create value and develop talent.

“For me it makes little sense to focus on Ibra and Kjær; but that’s my way of seeing things, neither way is right nor wrong, simply different.

“When Ibra said he didn’t know me, he was not wrong, because I also don’t know him personally, having never spoken to him.”

His long-term mentor and close confidant Helmut Gross has uttered similar thoughts on Rangnick’s preference for younger players.

Gross said: “He only brought in players that were right for playing his way.

“They were mostly young, U23s, open-minded, physically strong and quick in a cognitive sense. Older players often want to play at a slower pace because their bodies and minds slow down.”

Rangnick is likely to have a serious decision to make over the role of Ronaldo in his United team, should the appointment be confirmed.

Of course, it is possibly that Rangnick devises a system that can account for one player’s lack of pressing if the unit around him does so – after all, Ronaldo’s goal output is an incredibly persuasive reason to overlook other shortcomings in his performance.

It looks set to be a fascinating time at Old Trafford under Rangnick.