Danny Murphy, a former Liverpool and Tottenham striker, has urged Manchester United to trade Cristiano Ronaldo despite his “tough” decision.
The Portuguese superstar joined United from Juventus for £13 million at the end of the summer transfer season. Since then, he’s had a strong season in front of goal for the Red Devils, scoring 18 goals in 32 appearances across all competitions.
United, on the other hand, has struggled as a team, having been eliminated from both the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup early in both competitions. They are also certain to miss out on Champions League participation, having been eliminated in the last 16 by Atletico Madrid and already trailing fourth-placed Arsenal by four points despite having played one more game.
A reshuffling of the squad is likely at the end of the season, when temporary manager Ralf Rangnick is replaced with a permanent manager. And Murphy feels that in order for United to advance, they must make the difficult decision to let Ronaldo go.
“Manchester United must make a major shift, even if it means selling key players like Cristiano Ronaldo. Dealing with superstars on big contracts requires caution; it’s preferable to find other takers before you fall out with them “‘I told the Daily Mail,’ he said.
“But the wider picture is that United hasn’t won a trophy in five years and needs to back a great manager who will be there for the long haul. Those players will want to do things their own way, so a clear-out led by Paul Pogba and Ronaldo makes sense.
“You can’t deny Ronaldo’s talent, but he’s 37 years old and, despite his goals, United lacks balance as a unit. They rely on Ronaldo’s individual brilliance, which works in some games but not against the greatest Premier League and Champions League teams.”
While Murphy acknowledged that selling Ronaldo would be difficult for United fans to accept, he believes it is an essential option for the club’s long-term success. The 37-year-old has been chastised for his inability to play as part of a high-pressing unit, a style of play that all of United’s shortlist coaches prefer.
“To compete, United needs both world-class ability and great physical effort, and the latter is no longer in Ronaldo’s game. In order for Old Trafford to reclaim its former glory, United’s players must press and compete for 60 matches per season, in addition to their abilities. Ronaldo isn’t going to be a part of that, in my opinion “Murphy went on to say.
“Fans of United will find it tough to let him go. He’s a hero, and deservedly so, but it doesn’t change the fact that it has to happen for the team’s long-term good. It might be different if Ronaldo had the personality to understand that he won’t be able to play every week, but that is unlikely. He’s never had to play second fiddle before.
“I’m not convinced Ronaldo would want a supporting role if the incoming manager wants Harry Kane. Ronaldo is a legendary player, but he isn’t the answer to United’s problems. They need a world-class manager, therefore give him the reins and let him create, even if it means losing a legend.”