Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United might just be the longest standing stream of speculation in world soccer. But how much of a difference would the Portuguese striker actually make if he went back to the Red Devils?
According to former United left-back Patrice Evra, even Sir Alex Ferguson was almost sure Ronaldo would one day return to the club.
“[Ferguson] said ‘I’m 99 percent Cristiano Ronaldo will come.’” Evra told BBC Radio 5 Live.
The legendary United manager could still play a vital role in United’s ambition to bring his former player back to the Old Trafford.
Spanish newspaper Marca claims that he has had a series of encounters with Ronaldo, in which the former manager tried to “sweet talk” the player into moving back to Manchester. From talking at Ronaldo’s movie premiere earlier this month, to earlier in March when Ferguson went to watch the Real Madrid vs. Schalke match in the Spanish capital.
Regardless of the transfer rumors being true or not, what can the Madrid striker offer to Louis Van Gaal and his squad?
First, having a player with Ronaldo’s offensive skills would lift United’s firepower to a whole new level. So far in 2015-16, Ronaldo has tallied 13 goals in 16 matches. Excellent numbers right? And that is because he has been struggling lately.
Last season, Ronaldo averaged more than one goal per match. His final tally at the end of the season was 61 scores in 54 games; that’s three goals more than his rival Messi had on the season. The Argentinian also played more games than Ronaldo and finished the season with 58 goals in 57 matches.
Ronaldo would also aid Van Gaal’s team in having a more direct style of play. The Red Devils lead the Premier League in possession percentage this season with an average of 56.9 percent of possession per game.
Despite being the team that spends more time with the ball in the Premier League, United is one of the teams taking the least shots in the competition. Van Gaal’s team is ranked 16 in that category with an average of 10.5 shots taken per match. The only teams behind Manchester in this statistic are Stoke City, Sunderland, Newcastle, and West Bromwich Albion.
Ronaldo, on the other hand, is by far the player taking the most shots in La Liga. The Real Madrid man has an average of 6.7 shots per game. He alone takes more shots than more than half of Van Gaal’s team. Some might think this excessive amount of shots would hurt Madrid’s possession average, but Los Merengues still manage to rank third in the Spanish League with an average of 55.4 percent of possession per game.
Also, how fun would it be to watch a Ronaldo – Depay combination?