Cristiano Ronaldo asked to REPLACE Harry Maguire as Man Utd captain
- Ronaldo wanted captaincy
- Rangnick declined to do so
- Utd still have concerns about Maguire
WHAT HAPPENED? The Portuguese ended up terminating his Manchester United contract in November 2022, after he criticised the club's hierarchy and manager Erik ten Hag in a television interview with Piers Morgan. Ronaldo also questioned the credentials of Ralf Rangnick, who took in a spell as United's interim boss before Ten Hag's arrival last summer. According to ESPN, Ronaldo asked Rangnick to give him the captain's armband ahead of Maguire in the second half of the 2021-22 season, but the German coach refused to bow to his wishes.
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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Maguire has faced plenty of criticism since joining United from Leicester City in a record-breaking £80 million deal in 2019. He was made captain by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer six months after making his debut, but has struggled to cope with the demands of the role. He was also advised to stay off social media after being ridiculed for posting apology messages during the club's poor run last season.
AND WHAT'S MORE: Although Ten Hag continues to keep Maguire as club captain, he now finds himself behind Raphael Varane in the squad pecking order. The United boss prefers to pair a right-footed defender with a left-footed one in the heart of his defence, with summer signing Lisandro Martinez slotting in alongside Varane. The ESPN report adds that the United coaching staff have concerns over Maguire's tendency to rush out of his position to win tackles and his lack of ability to cover ground. They are pleased with his skills on the ball, though, and he will retain the armband until at least the end of the season.
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WHAT NEXT FOR MAGUIRE & RONALDO? The centre-back will be hoping that Ten Hag will give him an opportunity to feature against Newcastle United on Saturday. Ronaldo, meanwhile, will be back in action with Al-Nassr on Tuesday against Al-Adalah in the Saudi Pro League.