Arsenal veteran Ian Wright has stated that Manchester United will fall far behind without Cristiano Ronaldo this season, warning the Red Devils that they might suffer another thrashing at the hands of Liverpool.
The Portuguese forward shone in a five-goal thriller against Norwich on Saturday, but without his hat-trick, United looked vulnerable against the bottom-of-the-table team.
United head to Anfield on Tuesday to face quadruple-chasing Liverpool, who defeated Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals with a 3-2 triumph of their own.
Tuesday’s match is critical for both teams, with Jurgen Klopp’s side chasing City at the top of the Premier League, and United still vying for a place in the top four, lying fifth, three points behind Tottenham.
They won a crucial three points thanks to Ronaldo’s treble, which came after the Canaries rallied from a 2-0 deficit.
Ralf Rangnick’s team, according to Wright, would be nowhere near a Champions League position without the 37-year-old.
‘If he [Ronaldo] wasn’t at Manchester United, they’d be nothing near where they are now,’ he told Premier League Productions. That is what you paid for, and he delivered. He’s incredible, incredible.’
However, the former Arsenal attacker warned that if United repeats their poor performance against their bitter rivals from the weekend, they might face a similar 5-0 thrashing against Liverpool as they did earlier in the season.
‘We’re talking about a team at the bottom of the league [Norwich] that basically gave United two goals today. And they can still access United. If United continues to play like this against Liverpool, they will be thoroughly thrashed.’
Ronaldo will reportedly receive an £850,000 bonus for his hat-trick in the 3-2 victory.
Ronaldo triggered a bonus-related provision in his contract after scoring 21 goals this season, according to The Sun.
Ronaldo’s deal contains a £750,000 bonus for scoring 20 goals, as well as an additional £100,000 for scoring a hat-trick.
He will now receive £100,000 for each additional goal he scored for the rest of the season.
United will also pay their best scorer this season £1 million, and Ronaldo appears to be on track to do so given that he is 12 goals ahead of his nearest rival, Bruno Fernandes.
Furthermore, if Ronaldo scores 30 goals this season, he will receive approximately £2.75 million in total rewards.
Although he has faced some criticism since rejoining United last year, Ronaldo is playing an important role in keeping his team’s prospects of finishing in the top four alive.