Gary Neville feels there are two teams likely to finish above Manchester United in the Premier League this season despite the return of the world’s top player.
United finished second last term as rivals Manchester City ran away with the spoils. But the fact Cristiano Ronaldo is now back at Old Trafford has altered the landscape. The Portugal captain marked his second coming with two goals as the Red Devils took care of Newcastle on Saturday.
The currently sit top of the table, with 10 points from four games played. The usual suspects are all there or thereabouts.
And, despite the former Real Madrid man being back in the ranks, Neville believes United will come up short.
“He does make the team better. I think he makes them more likely to win the title than I thought three weeks ago,” he Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football programme.
“Something inside me tells me that I don’t think he will quite make them the team that will win the title this season. And it’s Chelsea and it’s City, just in terms of team.”
And the ex-United and England defender wishes that he could turn the clock back to a younger version of the forward.
“The introduction of Ronaldo at 36 as a penalty-box striker, which is what he is, I don’t think will make them a complete enough team to win the title,” he added.
“If Cristiano Ronaldo was seven or eight years younger and was still at that level that he was at Real Madrid, I believe he’d be able to take them to the title or to the Champions League.
“He is a very, very special individual and an unbelievable star.”
Neville opts for Ronaldo in ‘greatest ever’ debate
There is no question that Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been the top two players of the recent generation. They dominated Spanish football for years but both look set to see out their careers away from LaLiga.
Neville is firmly in the camp who feel the Portuguese superstar just has the edge on his Argentine rival.
“I do think he is the greatest football player that has ever lived,” he continued. “That is not bias, that is just me looking at who I would want to trust to win me a football match in the most different ways, who is the most complete player.”
But the ex-England full-back stuck to his guns over whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will guide his men to glory this term.
“I can say I don’t think Manchester United will win the title. However, I caveat that by if that atmosphere and that spirit that I witnessed on Saturday, if that momentum builds, he could do something spectacular,” he stated.
“I don’t think it will happen because I think Chelsea or Manchester City have better teams at the moment than Manchester United.”