Is Cristiano Ronaldo hampering Manchester United more than helping?

Is Cristiano Ronaldo hampering Manchester United more than helping?

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ever since the 2021/22 season, nothing’s going right for Manchester United fans. After a fantastic curtain-raiser against Leeds United at Old Trafford, the only thing they cherished was the return of Cristiano Ronaldo. His return made several fans dream about their first title since Sir Alex Ferguson. However, things have changed multi-folds. Now fans are questioning themselves and are diving to a possible conclusion. The conclusion is “Cristiano Ronaldo is hampering” Manchester United’s performance. 

There is no doubt that Cristiano Ronaldo belongs to an elite and winning mentality. And, he was brought to pass on that mentality to a side that had multiple youngsters. In a recent interview with Sky Sports, he mentioned the same:

"What I can say is we can do better - all of us. Manchester [United] belongs to important things, so we have to change that. "I don't want to be here to be in sixth place, or seventh place, or fifth place. I'm here to try to win, to compete. I think we compete but we are not yet in our best level. But we have a long way to improve and I believe if we change our mind, we can achieve big things

But since his arrival, the team has failed to maintain the tempo that they had the last term. The Red Devils have struggled to keep themselves going in the league. The Portuguese’s arrival has not impacted the side in a positive way barring the Champions League triumphs. Is Cristiano Ronaldo hampering Manchester United more than Helping?

How Cristiano Ronaldo is hampering Manchester United’s performance?

Is Cristiano Ronaldo hampering Manchester United more than Helping?
Is Ronaldo the reason behind all issues at OT?

Though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was not a tactical manager (according to a few sections of fans and players), the manager was able to bring the side in unison throughout his tenure. He managed to achieve third and second place effectively in the previous terms. And Cristiano Ronaldo was seen as the player missing the jigsaw puzzle. 

Despite the warning of multiple legendary players, Manchester United signed Ronaldo. Till now it has not panned the way that they wanted. Though the Red Devils have qualified for the next round in the Premier League, they find themselves in the 7th position after 20 games. The draw against Aston Villa felt like a loss to several sections of fans. 

In the last term, i.e, 2020/21, Manchester United had expected goals of 60.2 whereas xGA accounted for 42.2. The difference was +20 whereas this season, it has gone downhill. At the end of 19 games, MUFC have xG of 27.7 and xGA of 30.3. If extrapolated to the whole 38 games, xG is 55.4 whereas xGA is 60.6. This accounts for the negative difference of 5.2 painting the sad state of affairs. 

On the other hand, the Goal Creation Action per 90 and Shot Creation Action per 90 have also got a deep hit. GCA was 3.21 for the entire season of 2020/21 whereas SCA stood up to 23.13. In the ongoing season, GCA is reduced to 2.8 and SCA to 23.05. This can be credited to the frequent changes in the formations, lack of balance in the midfield and shifting Bruno Fernandes wideout in a formation to accommodate several star players. Changing the formation has not yielded the results that the team was looking for.

Delving Deeper: 

The above stats are on average. However, we have dived deeper to accumulate the statistics on personal levels. Manchester United have gained more points in the Premier League without Cristiano Ronaldo. But it is vice versa in the Champions League.

Also, Manchester United remain unbeaten more times compared whenever Ronaldo has not played. In the ongoing season, across all competitions, Manchester United have played seven games without Ronaldo and have remained unbeaten in 85.71% of the games. On the other hand, Manchester United has won 47.62% of games with Ronaldo on the pitch. (It is 42% when he is not playing).

Also, the Old Trafford outfit has conceded fewer goals and scored in tandem when CR7 is not playing. The team has conceded just 0.85 goals per game without Ronaldo whereas they have conceded 1.52 games with gum. In terms of scoring, it is 1.619 goals per 90 with Ronaldo whereas it is 1.57 without the Portuguese talisman. 

There is no doubt that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the talismanic footballers across all competitions. However, if the club is looking to accommodate a 37-year-old sacrificing their upcoming players, the club might endure tough times.

It is not the first club where the team is struggling with Ronaldo. Juventus won the Serie A but found themselves struggling after his departure as the club failed to invest in others. The same might repeat at Old Trafford which has failed to win any big competition ever since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. The onus is on the manager to find the right balance between Manchester United and Cristiano Ronaldo who seems to be hampering the club more than helping. 

Also Read: Serie A: Juventus vs Udinese player ratings as the hosts clinch a comfortable 2-0 victory