Cristiano Ronaldo

Manchester United are not stronger without Ronaldo - Ferdinand

09:56 WAT 13/03/2022
A former Red Devil jumped to the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's defence before seeing him net his first hat-trick of the season

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has insisted that Ralf Rangnick's current team are not stronger without Cristiano Ronaldo.

United re-signed Ronaldo from Juventus for £20 million ($26m) last summer, 11 years on from initally selling him to Real Madrid.

The 37-year-old has scored 18 goals in 32 matches since his return, but it has been suggested that the team has taken a backwards step in 2021-22.

What's been said?

Prior to his hat-trick in United's 3-2 win against Tottenham on Saturday, Ronaldo had only managed to find the net nine times in 23 Premier League outings.

The Red Devils, who finished second in the table last season, have become embroiled in a top-four battle and questions have been asked over whether they would be better off without the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

While reviewing the club's upcoming Champions League round of 16 clash with Atletico Madrid, Ferdinand jumped to Ronaldo's defence, telling The Mirror: “Without Cristiano Ronaldo, Man Utd would not still be in the Champions League.

“Are United a stronger team without him? I cannot agree with that at all. If he was not playing with Man Utd then they would have gone out in the group stage.

“A player with his ability and his talent, who is as decisive as he is, who has shown it over the years - and this season - that he can make the difference.

“Man United are not a team who are in the position to think, ‘OK, we are too good to have someone like that in our team’.”

Ronaldo silences critics

Ronaldo fired back at his critics in the best possible way as he inspired United to a crucial home win over Spurs upon his return to Rangnick's starting XI.

The Portuguese missed their 4-1 derby loss to Manchester City on March 6 through injury and went back to his homeland for a few days, fueling speculation over his future.

United welcomed back a rejuvenated Ronaldo when Tottenham arrived at Old Trafford, and he opened the scoring with a thunderous 25 yard strike.

The former Juve star went on to complete his first hat-trick of the season, turning home a Jadon Sancho cross before powering home a trademark header from a corner, claiming the record as the all-time highest scoring player in the history of club football in the process.

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