Cristiano Ronaldo: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opens up on what 36-year-old forward can still do for Man United

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Since Cristiano Ronaldo decided to return to Manchester United this summer, some football pundits and critics of the club have been wondering what the 36-year-old forward still has to offer the club.

The 5-time Ballon d’Or winner has played at the peak of his football career for at least 18 years. He has proven that he is one of the all-time best in the game at Manchester United (2003-2009), Real Madrid (2009-2018), and Juventus (2018-2021).

Cristiano Ronaldo’s consistent effort to prove that he is the best in the game has earned him a lot of individual accolades and also helped the clubs he had played for to win a series of championships.

His return to Manchester United after 12 years of leaving Old Trafford has been very exciting to the club in terms of the commercial gains and media attention, but the world awaits to see what the 36-year-old forward still has to do on the pitch. That wait might end later today, September 11, if he plays against Newcastle United at Old Trafford.

Ahead of the Manchester United Premier League game against Newcastle United scheduled to kick off at 15:00 today, the coach of the Red Devils, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer listed some of the things the club stands to gain on the pitch and in the locker room from Ronaldo.

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo will head in Manchester United’s crosses

Over the years, Cristiano Ronaldo has mastered the ability to time the ball in the air so much that he has scored some mouth-watering goals using his head.

He has done that countless times during his three years at Juventus and in Portugal’s national team.

Ronaldo uses the ability to jump as high as possible to head in the ball to make up for his dwindling pace and reduced mobility. Hence, Manchester United’s crosses into the oppositions’ box would find save landing on Ronaldo’s head.

  1. Ronaldo is now a master of positioning

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored a lot of tap in goals especially now that age is gradually catching up with him. He does this effortlessly because of his increased ability to read the movement of the team and accurately predict where the ball would be within the box.

This is one of the advantages Manchester United will enjoy whenever the 36-year-old Portuguese football icon steps on the pitch for the Red Devils.

Aside from his ability to position himself to tap in the ball inside the 18-yard box, Ronaldo can shoot outside the box with a very high probability of scoring.

  1. Ronaldo’s Leadership skill is second to none

Almost every player in the current setup of Manchester United adores Cristiano Ronaldo especially the club’s homegrown talent. Hence, United’s coach now has a huge ambassador in Ronaldo whenever a leader is needed on and off the pitch.

He has been a leader in Portugal national team for years. He was a leader in his later days at Real Madrid and Juventus which means that he has all it takes to keep the team together when the need arises.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s submission on Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opens up on what 36-year-old forward can still do for Man United
File photo of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Cristiano Ronaldo.

“He will get on the pitch at some point, that’s for sure”, coach Solskjaer said ahead of Manchester United vs Newcastle United Premier League game.

“There is no place to hide with winners like that. You can’t give 95% in training and not be focused. That is what he demands of himself and everyone else…

The Norwegian tactician continued: “Everyone evolves and develops throughout their career.

“You won’t see 18, 19, 20 stepovers before he goes past you. But what he has developed in his years at Real Madrid impressed us all.

“He is one of the best in the air and his timing and desire to get on the end of crosses is second to none. He still hits the target 99 times out of 100 when he shoots from outside the box. He knows the game more and which positions to run into and is still as quick from the statistics.

“Everyone is going to look up to him. He is going to be a leader in this dressing room.”

Ronaldo can retire at 40 like Ryan Giggs

Cristiano Ronaldo: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opens up on what 36-year-old forward can still do for Man United
File photo of Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The head coach of Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has added his voice to the numerous voices that believe that Cristiano Ronaldo can retire at Manchester United when he is 40-year-old.

Scottish football icon, Ryan Giggs was the last player to stay and retired at the club at such a ripe age. Ronaldo who had said he is not in Manchester on vacation has a two-year contract with Manchester United with an option of extension. This means that he might stay at the club until 39.

“Cristiano doesn’t need me to tell him what to do,” Solskjaer said.

“He has always had this desire and determination to be the best. He is the one I have seen in my career that prepared and took the steps they needed to.

“He is in such good nick still and will be looking at the next few years to play as much as he can and score as many goals as he can.

“Ryan Giggs played until he was 40. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cristiano gets to the same age.”