Man United in 2021: Ronaldo's return, Ole out and Rangnick revolution
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Cristiano Ronaldo could be about to give Manchester United the last dance supporters want. The Portugal international is now looking primed to stay at the club and play under Erik ten Hag, with the Dutchman open to building his team around the veteran. And that means he’ll be an integral part of the squad next term as they gear up for yet another new challenge.
Ronaldo’s future has been up in the air of late, despite the United star scoring an impressive 24 goals from 37 appearances across all competitions.
And The Telegraph say the Portugal international is looking set to stay at Old Trafford, with Ten Hag open to retaining his services.
Now, Ronaldo could be about to give United a fitting last final season at the club.
When he arrived back in the summer, many were expecting the Portugal international to propel the club to a first Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.
Instead, he’s been a shining light amid a campaign that has gone from bad to worse under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.
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But if United can get their act together in the summer, there’s every chance next year can be significantly better.
After all, can it really get much worse?
Top managers can turn situations around quickly. Just look at Thomas Tuchel, who guided Chelsea to Champions League glory mere months after taking over.
Next season, it’s possible Ronaldo will have a whole new team around him.
Jadon Sancho will stay but there are question marks over Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, while Edinson Cavani will depart on a free transfer.
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In midfield, United will be losing Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata.
And while Donny van de Beek is primed to return from his loan spell at Everton, the Red Devils are changing to make wholesale changes in that department.
Likewise, in defence.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka isn’t good enough, while Diogo Dalot has often struggled for consistency since touching down from Porto in the summer transfer window of 2018.
Harry Maguire’s future is up in the air, having regressed alarmingly since Rangnick took over from Solskjaer.
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And Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Alex Telles haven’t convinced during their spells at the club, either.
If United are serious about winning the world’s biggest trophies again, Ten Hag will need backing.
But, if he gets it, then Ronaldo may have a team around him ready to ease the burden of responsibility on his shoulders.
Ronaldo has shown that, even as he enters the twilight years of his career, he’s got what it takes to thrive in the Premier League.
And this would be a fitting way to end his career.
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When Ronaldo first left United in 2009, there was always a sense that he had unfinished business with the Red Devils.
Though he’d won every trophy possible, had he stayed, the club could have secured a treble the following year given the talent Ferguson had at his disposal.
If Ronaldo had left this year, there would also been a sense of what could have been.
But, now, the stage is set.
Ronaldo will play under Ten Hag next term and, if the duo can work out a winning formula, there’s every chance the Red Devils will be able to compete for the biggest and best prizes on offer once again.
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