Paul Merson has sent a stark warning to incoming manager Erik ten Hag to get rid of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 37-year-old made what was supposed to be a glorious return to the Premier League with his club Manchester United in the summer following 12 trophy-laden years away with Real Madrid and Juventus.
Ronaldo has gone on to deliver the goods but it has not been enough as Manchester United have struggled under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the first half of the season and are struggling under interim boss Ralf Rangnick in the second half of the season which comes to an end in a few weeks.
Many have been torn between Ronaldo’s goal-scoring form and his actual contribution to the side. Former Arsenal man Merson, now working as a football media personality, has pitched his tent with the crowd who believe Ronaldo offers nothing to the squad.
He has also given some advice to ten Hag, who will resume his new duties in the summer aster he is done at Ajax Amsterdam. Merson, writing in his column for British tabloid Daily Star, claims that Ronaldo should be one of the first players axed by the Dutchman as he has made other players around him worse.
“Erik ten Hag must bite the bullet and get rid of Cristiano Ronaldo or he’ll waste his first year at Manchester United,” Merson wrote in his column for Daily Star. “If you’re bringing in a manager who’s going to be there for the next three or four years you can’t waste one on a striker who isn’t. Ronaldo has had a good season. But everyone else at the club has been atrocious.
“Why do you think that is?
“Some players bring out the best in those around them. Some players make them worse. That’s what Ronaldo has done. Look what Karim Benzema is doing for Real Madrid. He’s scored 43 goals this season. I don’t remember him doing that when Ronaldo was there.
“Look at the players Ronaldo is playing with now at United. He hasn’t brought the best out of any of them. He could score a hat-trick against Brighton and it wouldn’t make any difference. United aren’t winning the League with him in the team. So they should move on.
“And when he leaves, I’m intrigued to see what his teammates say. Every other player at the club has failed miserably this season.”
Should Ronaldo depart Old Trafford this summer – a very unlikely incident – United could replace the five-time Ballon d’Or winner with Napoli’s Victor Osimhen as reports claim that the Nigerian striker has risen up their preferred striker target list.
Italian outlet La Repubblica are reporting that the Red Devils are now in pole position to sign the striker from Napoli for €90 million, bit will face strong competition from Newcastle United, who are ready to ‘go crazy’ for his signature.