Ronaldo: The Stats Don’t Lie

Cristiano Renaldo

Following Manchester United’s 1-0 loss to Real Sociedad at Old Trafford on Thursday night in the Europe League, many fans have started to wonder if 5-time Balon D’or winner Cristiano Ronaldo really is part of Erik Ten Hag’s plans.

Despite scoring 18 PL goals last campaign, the Portuguese superstar came under severe scrutiny for the lack of team cohesion as a result of him being in the side. Furthermore, his disappointment in other members of the team was made evident by his body language and comments throughout last season, leading to reported rifts between CR7 and certain cliques within United’s dressing room.

CR7’s form at the start of this season has been poor with the forward not netting any goals thus far, albeit in limited minutes. This led to newly appointed United manager Erik Ten Hag starting Ronaldo on the bench for their recent games, resulting in a dramatic upturn in form over the 4 games prior to the fixture against Sociedad last night. A game in which Ronaldo started. And United lost. The former Real Madrid star’s performance must have left himself wondering when his next start will be, and it’s easy to understand why as Ronaldo’s stats don’t lie.

Renaldo’s minutes played in the last 6 fixtures and the Man United result

Ronaldo’s last two full 90s have ended with a United loss, whereas the four games in between those two fixtures, where Ronaldo only appeared for brief cameos, United have won.

The clear lack of results when Ronaldo is started is alarming and is certainly something Erik Ten Hag would have flagged. The Dutchman has preferred Rashford, Sancho, Martial prior to his injury and even Elanga over CR7 at the beginning of this season. The signing of Antony on deadline day was also an indication that United’s management are already planning for Ronaldo’s departure. Ronaldo will need to conform to Ten Hag’s philosophy and play/carry himself in a more team-orientated manner if he is to break back into the starting XI. CR7 is indisputably one of the all-time greats, but he will need to prove the doubters wrong one last time if he is to conclude his United story on a high note.