Marcus Rashford, after a couple of inconsistent years, is now enjoying his best season at Manchester United. The 25-year-old striker has notched up an impressive 25 goals in all competitions and is undeniably one of the most in-form attackers in world football.
Interestingly, Rashford’s upswing in form seems to coincide with the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Old Trafford at the end of the previous year following a falling-out with United manager Erik ten Hag.
Cristiano Ronaldo is eternally revered as a United legend, and rightly so. It was during his time at United that he established himself as one of the world’s finest players, winning the Ballon d’Or in 2008 and securing four more titles at Real Madrid.
Nevertheless, there is no escaping the fact that his subpar performances and attitude had hindered United during the initial months of Ten Hag’s tenure.
Rashford has admirably embraced the attacking responsibilities left by Ronaldo. However, an online video suggests that replicating the Portuguese star’s game intelligence may prove more challenging.
The video showcases a goal scored by Wayne Rooney for United in a 4-1 victory against Bolton Wanderers in March 2007. Rooney garnered praise for a delicate chip over the goalkeeper, but the highlight was the sequence of one-two passes he exchanged with Ronaldo throughout the pitch.
The crucial moment occurred when Rooney deftly redirected the ball into Ronaldo’s path, and the Portuguese speedily dribbled through the heart of the field. He waited for the perfect moment to return the pass to Rooney when no defenders could catch the England striker.
This clip has been compared to a similar move Ronaldo attempted with Rashford earlier in the season, with Ronaldo taking on the role of Rooney and Rashford stepping into the shoes of the 2006 Ronaldo.
In this instance, as United launched a counterattack, Ronaldo flicked the ball inside to Rashford, akin to what Rooney had done for him in 2006. However, instead of dribbling into the open space ahead of him, Rashford promptly passed the ball back to Ronaldo, even though his teammate was surrounded by defenders.
By the time Ronaldo had an opportunity to return the pass, Rashford had strayed into an offside position, causing the play to unravel.
United fans promptly noted the comparison. One fan, @sealteamsix22, commented, “Not a CR7 stan in the slightest, but why doesn’t Rashford just continue instead of laying the ball off – there’s nobody there, bruv.”
@AGFennec didn’t mince words, stating, “Rashford’s IQ is the biggest thing holding him back from being a world-beater.”
However, not everyone shares the same viewpoint. @Issaspambrodie countered with, “You’re literally showing us that Ronaldo chose to slow the whole attack by not threading a through ball to Rashford.”
This video clearly shows the difference in football IQ between Ronaldo and Rashford.
Two similar situations but two different outcomes pic.twitter.com/KqpQMSe8WC
— TZ5 (@totalzizou) March 13, 2023