Ronaldo proves Carragher’s theory to be true as Man Utd face dilemma | Soccer | sport

Cristiano Ronaldo may be the ‘problem’ after all. The Portuguese superstar was branded with that tag so often during Manchester United’s seismic season of struggles last campaign, but his impressive individual goal tally suggested otherwise. However, as the Red Devils without Ronaldo continue to thrive in pre-season, it looks like Jamie Carragher was right: perhaps United are a significantly better team without him.

There seemed to be a new air of optimism around Old Trafford following the arrival of Erik ten Hag at the start of the summer, but this quickly threatened to be eradicated. A stuttering start to the club’s transfer business was compounded by the explosive revelation that Ronaldo was ready to turn his back on United as an insatiable appetite for Champions League football evidently replaced any sentimentality towards the club.

But just when it looked like Ten Hag’s team would be thrown back into further turmoil, hope rises once again. As well as a number of exciting new arrivals, the Red Devils have enjoyed a frantic pre-season so far, putting both Liverpool and Melbourne Victory to the sword, while already showing promising signs that the system and Ten Hag’s style can bring the club back to success.

In their two pre-season matches so far, United have scored eight goals, half of them thanks to the combined efforts of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial. In short, United shone and showed the kind of attacking football that saw the Red Devils finish the 2020-21 campaign as Premier League runners-up.

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While returning hero Ronaldo was supposed to be the one to help United take the final step towards silverware, his presence ultimately had a negative effect. Or else Carragher would have you believe so.

The Liverpool legend spoke in particular about United’s ‘mistake’ in bringing Ronaldo back to the club and explained how the 37-year-old’s re-arrival risked undoing all the good work the Red Devils had done under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer , and in the previous season in particular. Carragher would go on to reiterate his view in February, insisting that Ronaldo’s goalscoring exploits had been glossed over and his presence alongside United was in fact having a detrimental impact on the team.

According to Carragher, United’s squad had become unbalanced following Ronaldo’s attack. In a Telegraph column in February he wrote: ‘Where would United be without their goals’ is something you hear often.

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