Manchester United have been warned over being too reliant on Cristiano Ronaldo by Roy Keane – who still thinks they should “certainly” keep him.
Ronaldo scored a penalty in Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Brentford on Monday. It took his tally for the first season of his second spell at Old Trafford up to 24 goals from 38 games. Only Bruno Fernandes – who scored the opener – has also hit double figures for the club in 2021-22.
There has been a lot of talk about Ronaldo since his return to Manchester United last year. Some have questioned whether the superstar’s arrival disrupted the balance of the team.
On the other hand, his influence cannot be denied, even at the age of 37. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner remains a reference point for the team.
That said, there have been some doubts over where he will be playing next season. Although under contract for another year, Ronaldo has been the subject of rumours of a return to Real Madrid, or other exit routes.
However, one man who thinks he should stay at Man Utd – if they have their way – is ex-club captain Keane.
Speaking on Monday Night Football, Keane said that although Ronaldo arrived for the short-term and needs competition, there would be no logic in Man Utd getting rid.
“It was a short-term fix, for the fans, for the share price. But he has still scored the goals,” Keane told Sky Sports.
“Manchester United have bigger problems than Cristiano Ronaldo.
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“I just think with the goals that he has got, his performances, warrants staying at the club. But Manchester United have to get players around him. They have to get other strikers in. There has to be competition for places.
“If the leading goalscorer, the man you are depending on, is 37 years of age then that is certainly not good. But I would certainly be holding onto Ronaldo.
“There might be a conversation that needs to be had about the way you are going to play or that you are not going to be playing week in and week out. But why would you get rid of a player who scores that many goals? I don’t see the logic in it.”
Ronaldo must become more mature, claims Keane
Despite his importance, Keane admits Ronaldo must realise he cannot play every minute of every game. In his response to such instances, the Portugal legend must become more mature.
“I think a top manager will come in and have that conversation with him and cut that rubbish out, like at Brentford when he is shaking his head 15 minutes after coming off. That is where Ronaldo has to be more mature and be a better leader,” Keane added.
“Of course you are disappointed when you come off. But don’t keep it up for one or two days. That is where you have to sort that maturity out.
“Even Ronaldo has to look at the bigger picture.
“And when you do have that conversation as a top manager, make it plain to him that won’t be tolerated. If he is not buying into that then you do say, ‘No, you’re not going to be part of my plans’.
“If he is thinking he has to play every minute of every game, that is rubbish at his age anyway.”
Ronaldo’s appearance against Brentford was his last at Old Trafford this season. Away games against Brighton and Crystal Palace remain on the agenda.
Ronaldo only needs two more goals to match his second-highest scoring season from his first Man Utd spell.