How Cristiano Ronaldo can turn Manchester United into title challengers | DAZN News Spain

Manchester United have landed Cristiano Ronaldo for the second time, around a decade after they first thought they might have a chance of bringing him back. A lot has changed since then, but a single truth that remains is that the player remains one of the best in the world.

Ronaldo left United as a player able to operate on the wings but who was becoming undeniably more effective through the middle. When a player simultaneously becomes selfish, effective and direct, the most important thing is to get him as close to the goal as possible. As he has improved, and aged, he has necessarily stripped away everything about his game that is not essential.

The player United get is not Ronaldo at his best, but it is Ronaldo at his most refined. He still has plenty to offer. Here is what he can give the side:

Goals

It is obvious, but like gravity, the fact he hoofs in a lot of goals is no less true just because we all know. The most important thing that Ronaldo will offer over the next season is that he will boot the ball into the net with a driven glee to serve his own statistical legacy. And he will do so whether or not anyone else is there willing to help him. Whether the team are losing or winning, Ronaldo will be aiming to add more to his tally, and that will have the side-effect of giving United more points when it matters, and more goals when it doesn’t.

Trophies

As well as goals and games, Ronaldo needs trophies if he is to win another Ballon d’Or. In order to get United to the top of the table or through the knockout stages, Ronaldo will be there to admonish and encourage (let’s be honest, mainly admonish) his teammates in relation to their efforts and standards. Ronaldo is committed to amassing as many trophies as he possibly can as his career draws to a close. That kind of dedication to one’s own Wikipedia page could drag United to a couple of cups this season, and if things break exceptionally in their favour, then it might not be brain-embolismingly daft to predict a run at the Premier League, too.

Helping Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford does not want for determination. In his battles with the British government he has shown he is going to make sure that he will do what he can in order to force through the right policies. What is less clear is whether he can transplant that one-track mind off the pitch to a desire to add goals on the pitch. 

At 23, this is the time that Rashford has to match Ronaldo and demonstrate that technical ability and talent will be translated into a lasting brilliance on the pitch. He has seen Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrive and depart swiftly, held back after season by a serious knee injury. He has watched as Radamel Falcao could not overcome his own knee problem, and seen Robin van Persie suffer the Louis van Gaal years. He has watched Wayne Rooney fail to get over his own lethargy. A player relies upon himself to find his way in his career, but it does not hurt to have mentors. In this regard, Ronaldo can show Rashford just what is needed to turn talent and mentality into lasting brilliance.

Papering over the cracks

When Ronaldo left United he did so when Alex Ferguson had spent a pitiful amount on the team compared to the amount their cash flow could have afforded. As he prepares for his second Premier League debut, he finds a United team that has not employed a sensible transfer strategy since Ferguson’s departure.

United needed a central midfielder, an old weakness, and instead they plumped for Ronaldo instead. They could have done with a right-back, too. Instead they have a superannuated superstar, and they need Ronaldo to put away so many goals that it doesn’t matter that there is a gaping hole where Roy Keane and then Michael Carrick used to be.

Refusing to put up with guff

Some people have it - that stare that makes you look inwardly at yourself and realise there is little more to you than belly-button fluff and self-hatred that you can only temporarily run from. When Ronaldo looks at Harry Maguire for failing to stand up consistently for five straight minutes, when he throws his hands up in exasperation at the existence of Jesse Lingard, or perhaps when he wonders out loud if there really is any point to Alex Telles, then players will have one of two options. Either they can grow bitter and resentful at being asked to meet the standards of one of the world's best players, or they can indulge in an extensive and internecine spat to derail United's whole season. If past evidence teaches us anything, enjoy the latter!

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