Roy Keane questions ‘logic’ of Manchester United letting Cristiano Ronaldo go

Ronaldo is Manchester United’s top scorer this season after re-joining from Juventus last August

Harry Latham-Coyle
Tuesday 03 May 2022 11:56 BST
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 18th Premier League goal of the season during the 3-0 win against Brentford
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 18th Premier League goal of the season during the 3-0 win against Brentford (Manchester United via Getty Imag)

Roy Keane has said that Manchester United have “bigger problems” than Cristiano Ronaldo and that he would not understand the “logic” if the club let the 37-year-old go this summer.

The Portuguese forward scored his 18th Premier League goal of the season during the 3-0 victory over Brentford, and has 14 more goals in all competitions than any other Manchester United player.

Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford for a second stint at the club last year, signing a two-year contract after leaving Juventus.

It has, however, been suggested that Erik ten Hag could look to the future and jettison Ronaldo when he takes charge ahead of the 2022-23 season.

For Keane, who played alongside the five-time Ballon d’Or winner during his first spell with Manchester United, that would be a strange decision, with the Irishman believing that the club should instead look to find more competition for Ronaldo in the forward line.

“It [Ronaldo’s signing] was a short-term fix, for the fans, for the share price,” Keane admitted on Sky Sports. “But he has still scored the goals.

“Manchester United have bigger problems than Cristiano Ronaldo. I just think with the goals that he has got, his performances, warrants staying at the club. But Manchester United have to get players around him, they have to get other strikers in, there has to be competition for places.

“If the leading goalscorer, the man you are depending on, is 37 years of age then that is certainly not good but I would certainly be holding onto Ronaldo.

“There might be a conversation that needs to be had about the way you are going to play or that you are not going to be playing week in and week out. But why would you get rid of a player who scores that many goals? I don’t see the logic in it.”

Manchester United’s win over Brentford leaves them just three points behind Tottenham in fifth and five back from Arsenal in fourth, but both London clubs have two games in hand.

Ralf Rangnick’s side close the Austrian’s interim tenure with league visits to Crystal Palace and Brighton.

Rumours of dressing room discontent and clashes between players have emerged regularly during a tough season for the club that saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked as manager in November.

Jamie Carragher thinks that managing the attitude of players like Ronaldo will be a key task for ten Hag, particularly if the Portuguese is forced into a reduced role due to the arrival of other forward options.

“I think a top manager will come in and have that conversation with him and cut that rubbish out, like at Brentford when he is shaking his head 15 minutes after coming off,” Carragher explained. “That is where Ronaldo has to be more mature and be a better leader.

“Of course you are disappointed when you come off but don’t keep it up for one or two days, that is where you have to sort that maturity out. Even Ronaldo has to look at the bigger picture.

“And when you do have that conversation as a top manager, make it plain to him that won’t be tolerated, if he is not buying into that then you do say, ‘No, you’re not going to be part of my plans’.

“If he is thinking he has to play every minute of every game, that is rubbish at his age anyway.”

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