July 21, 2022
As Ronaldo lives up to expectations, Man United’s problems run so deep even he can’t save them

MANCHESTER, England — Perhaps the Glazers will never succeed as owners of Manchester United. When they signed Tom Brady for their NFL franchise, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they were rewarded with a Super Bowl title at the first attempt, but for all the goals and star quality of Cristiano Ronaldo, the better than they can hope for this season is Europa League. qualifying such is the depth of the malaise at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo took his Premier League tally to 18 with a second-half equaliser, two minutes after Marcos Alonso’s opener volleyed in Thursday’s 1-1 home draw against Chelsea. Only Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, with 22 goals, has scored more this season.

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This United side are so bad, so bereft of confidence, that even Ronaldo’s incredible contribution since returning to Old Trafford from Juventus last August has only been enough to put them sixth in the table, five points behind. Arsenal, fourth. who have played two games less. As for league leaders Manchester City and second-placed Liverpool – United’s two biggest rivals are still on track to meet in the Champions League final in Paris next month – they have 25 and 24 points respectively. ahead of United.

While Ronaldo did exactly what he was supposed to do when he signed for United – he scored eight of their last nine goals – the rest of the squad performed so poorly that their heroics couldn’t carry on. the club to glory. , or anywhere near it, this season.

The comparison between Ronaldo and Brady is loose in the sense that two of modern sport’s most iconic figures play a completely different ball game, but signing them both shows you how the Glazers roll the dice as owners. . They place a high value on the name of the individual star, hoping that their personality and reputation can turn an average team into a winning team, while generating increased business revenue.

It worked for the Bucs, who won their first Super Bowl in 18 years after signing Brady for the 2020 season, but Ronaldo is the latest big name to find United cannot be inspired to sporting miracles. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria, Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba – who will leave as free agents this summer after six disappointing years at Old Trafford – have all tried and failed to achieve what Brady achieved with Tampa.

As the anti-Glazer protests in and around Old Trafford before and during the Chelsea game showed, fans firmly blame United’s American owners for years of stagnation. The Glazers have been unpopular since putting United into debt with their leveraged takeover in 2005. Seventeen years later, the success of the Sir Alex Ferguson years is a distant memory, and it’s been five years since the club’s last trophy. .

This sterile race is due to failed managerial appointments and a waste of money in the transfer market. Mismanagement in the boardroom and on the training ground has left United with a hugely underperforming squad and an interim manager in Ralf Rangnick who is now set to accept the role of Austria coach leaving his role expected consultant at Old Trafford in doubt.

That draw against Chelsea means Rangnick has overseen a run of just one win in seven games. His predecessor, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, was fired in November after winning two of his last seven, so it’s a safe bet United won’t ask the former RB Leipzig manager to ignore his Austrian escape route .

Rangnick has become popular with many United fans with his stark assessment of the club’s players and hierarchy’s decision-making in recent years, but he has also deftly deflected attention from his own man-management shortcomings. , tactics and selection. It’s the Manchester United of 2022: everyone is looking for someone else to blame and trying to protect their own reputations, while fans continue to call on the Glazers to sell and leave.

It’s a club that seems desperate for this turbulent season to end, with everyone waiting for Erik ten Hag, Ajax’s new coach, to start rebuilding confidence and belief and restoring hunger and pride to the game. ‘team.

Ten Hag will inherit many problems, but Ronaldo is not one of them. The Glazers are, because the fans will never accept them, but ten Hag can only solve that problem by building a winning team that gives fans something positive to focus on.

On this United team’s proof, however, he must have the qualities of Brady and Ronaldo together to bring the good times back to Old Trafford.

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