Ralf Rangnick has not even assumed his role as Manchester United’s interim manager yet, but questions are already being raised in the media and on social media about his compatibility with star forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
It’s a coincidence, or irony, that the coach credited with being the inventor of the high press is going to handle the forward known for pushing less throughout the Premier League, by some margin.
Signing Ronaldo was always going to raise the front line of #MUFC + requires commitment.
The pressure stats (as of Oct 1) aren’t a surprise, but they showed even more today (compared to Vardy as well).
There is a lot to do to find the balance of the team in / out of possession. @ TheAthleticUKhttps: //t.co/k6q2vLkZ3H pic.twitter.com/expWUEqayn
– Laurie Whitwell (@lauriewhitwell) October 16, 2021
There was reportedly some friction at Ronaldo’s former club Juventus due to his refusal to push, and the rest of the team felt their job was to simply retrieve the ball and give it to him to score.
Wow, Bonucci shots on Cristiano Ronaldo: «In the recent past, Juventus didn’t play as a team: we all played so he could score. We had lost the ability to suffer together thinking that he could have fixed everything.
Solskjaer, Manchester United, does a bell ring?
– Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) October 21, 2021
How will this be resolved? Will Rangnick allow CR7 to be an exception to the rule? Will Cristiano accept to change his ways and push more? Will German adopt a different system? Or will the Portuguese be eliminated?
The last two options seem unlikely, which leaves us with the first two, or a compromise between them, where Ronaldo agrees to increase his pressure and Rangnick accepts that he is not going to be as strong as he would like.
But it is not as simple as that. This goes beyond what happens in 90 minutes of competitive soccer to the entire training structure.
According to The Telegraph, ‘a number of changes to the way United train is anticipated and that could extend to Rangnick introducing a’ countdown clock ‘that he has used at previous clubs, including RB Leipzig, to help players. to train in the art of his “Eight Second Rule”.
‘The 63-year-old… demands that the players recover the ball within eight seconds and take a shot on goal within 10 seconds of regaining possession.
“The watch is designed so that players can hear it, a situation that Rangnick believes increases the intensity of the sessions and can help produce results in weeks.”
The fact is, Ronaldo will be as much a part of that training as everyone else. And given that he is reputed to be one of the best and most dedicated coaches in the world, this is a clash of styles that cannot be avoided, one in which it will be difficult to find a compromise.
Furthermore, it is likely that those who named Rangnick to the United job passed the idea over to Ronaldo first. Given his importance both on the field and in the dressing room, his blessing would have been important and having given his blessing would mean that the Portuguese is willing to accept the new manager’s methods.
This really leaves us with only one likely outcome: Ronaldo will have to start pushing.
Of course, despite his incredible fitness levels, at 36 this will put additional demands on the United striker from a physical point of view. It could mean that it is often replaced after an hour or so, or that it is rotated more and used as a substitute for impact.
But make no mistake, Ronaldo will push. You are a winner and will do whatever it takes to be successful. And, knowing your constant quest for excellence, you will likely quickly become the best presser on the entire team.