Cristiano Ronaldo is seemingly growing to accept his squad role at Man Utd and an attitude shift since the window closed has greatly benefitted one of his teammates, per a report.
The 37-year-old pushed to leave Manchester United in the summer. His Champions League ambitions were the primary reason behind his exit wish, though concrete interest ultimately failed to materialise.
Ronaldo remained at Old Trafford after the window slammed shut and if Erik ten Hag’s early selection calls are anything to go by, he’s no longer assured of starts in the big games.
Indeed, Ronaldo did start against Real Sociedad in the Europa League. However, he was on the bench for the crunch Premier League clash with Arsenal – United’s only domestic fixture since the summer window passed.
Marcus Rashford was chosen to lead the line and put in one of his finest displays in recent memory.
The England World Cup hopeful bagged a brace and provided the assist for Antony’s opener. Any doubts Ronaldo had as to whether Rashford was a serious contender for his spot were heightened against the Gunners.
Ronaldo’s time back in Manchester has been characterised by poor body language and talk of unhappiness behind the scenes.
He was recently charged by the FA for an incident relating to “improper and/or violent”. Video footage showed Ronaldo appearing to knock a fan’s mobile phone to the ground after United’s 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park on April 9.
Ten Hag can ill afford a Ronaldo circus overshadowing his first season at the helm. However, according to the Sun, fears Ronaldo could pose a problem in the dressing room have been extinguished.
Rashford benefits from attitude change
The newspaper cite a source that’s claimed Ronaldo’s attitude has markedly improved since the window closed.
In fact, the Portuguese icon seems to have even taken Marcus Rashford under his wing. Furthermore, he’s provided positional advice and is helping to finetune his game as a centre forward.
The Sun’s source is quoted as saying: “Ronaldo has been a bit of a pain in the dressing room. Some of the players have been frustrated about the fact he missed pre-season and has been sulking around Carrington.
“But since the transfer window closed, his attitude has improved and he has been very helpful with Marcus.
“He’s been spending time with him, talking about the game and giving his constructive criticism about positioning on the pitch.
“Marcus has been a bit surprised by it because it’s always difficult when you’re playing and a team-mate isn’t and you’re both fighting for the same position.
“But the relationship between the pair has never been better and Marcus knows he can learn a lot from him.
“He’s grateful for the advice and for the fact that Ronaldo seems genuine in that he wants Marcus to improve and succeed.”
Ronaldo revelations could leave lasting legacy
Ronaldo has always been lauded for his dedication to his craft and professionalism. Those traits are evident given very few top level footballers can remain elite performers into their late 30s.
However, his failed exit in the summer did open up the possibility of Ronaldo becoming a problem.
The Sun’s new revelations dispel that notion. They also suggest he’s growing to accept his position as a squad player as well as a dressing room leader.
There have been very few in the history of football to play the centre forward position as well as Ronaldo.
Any coaching advice he imparts on the likes of Rashford and Anthony Martial will greatly benefit both the pair as well as team morale. In their mid-20s, Martial and Rashford will likely outlast Ronaldo at United.
Even if Ronaldo isn’t contributing as much as he’d like on the pitch, it’s excellent to hear he’s now doing his part for the greater good of the club behind the scenes.