Gary Neville believes that Cristiano Ronaldo will not single-handedly take Manchester United to the Premier League title amid comparisons with Harry Kane.
The 36-year-old made a fantastic introduction following his return to Old Trafford from Juventus. He scored twice on his second debut for the club in Saturday’s win over Newcastle.
Furthermore, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer detailed after the match how he inspired his colleagues off the pitch.
Nevertheless, speaking to Sky Sports‘ Monday Night Football, Neville insisted that United are getting an “absolute cameo” out of a player who now operates as a “penalty-box striker”.
Indeed, he noted that if the Red Devils had the chance to sign Tottenham’s Kane or Erling Haaland, he would have taken it.
“Manchester United are going to get a cameo out of Cristiano Ronaldo for 12-18 months,” Neville said. “They’re going to get an absolute cameo out of him.
“Kane would be there five or six years. Haaland, if you said to me Haaland, Kane or Ronaldo, I’d say Kane or Haaland because they’ll be there for six years.
“This is a cameo. I think United needed a right winger, they got [Jadon] Sancho. [They] needed a forward, they’ve got Ronaldo. I’m delighted in the short-term.”
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Neville went on to discuss the impacts Ronaldo, Kane and Haaland would separately have at United.
As such, he would pick Kane if he got the pick of all three forwards in the summer transfer window.
Kane has traits Ronaldo doesn’t
“Harry Kane would get more involved in the build-up, glue the team together, would score as many goals as Ronaldo,” Neville added.
“I don’t think Ronaldo will get involved in the build-up, he will be a poacher. I think United will fall short of winning the Premier League title this season.
“We’re talking about two different things, the greatest player of all time who’s had an 18-year career and assessing it throughout his career versus how he is at 36. They’re two completely different things.
“I don’t think Manchester United will win the title. However, caveat that by that atmosphere and that spirit I witnessed on Saturday. If that momentum builds he can do something spectacular.”
Meanwhile, Neville insisted that United should not stop trying to sign Kane or Haaland. However, such a plan could end up costing the likes of Mason Greenwood game time.
“[If Haaland comes] he wouldn’t be on the bench,” Neville said. “He’s played with [Karim] Benzema, [Gareth] Bale, all these great Galacticos at Real Madrid. Why would you put him on the bench? You can fit two strikers in the team surely.”
United return to action on Tuesday when facing Young Boys in their first Champions League game of the season.