Manchester United have suffered a blow with the news that star striker Cristiano Ronaldo is unlikely to be available for tomorrow’s game against Crystal Palace.
The Portuguese ace was again the Reds’ hero in Thursday’s rousing comeback display against Arsenal, scoring a brace in a vital 3-2 win.
However, The Sun today reports that the 36-year-old might have picked up a knee injury while performing his famous ‘Siuuu!’ celebration moments after firing home the decisive penalty.
Ronaldo is thought to have battled through the pain barrier to help his side towards the finish line, before eventually being substituted in the dying minutes.
The unexpected knock makes the prolific superstar a major doubt for Ralph Rangnick’s Old Trafford debut as manager against Patrick Vieira’s Eagles.
Meanwhile, any suggestion that the international star could struggle to adapt to Rangnick’s famed high-energy attacking game were dispelled by the German himself yesterday.
He said, “Having seen Cristiano against Arsenal in the second half at the age of 36, he is an amazing top professional.
“At his age, I’ve never seen a player who is still that physically fit. He’s still a player who can easily make the difference.”
However, the former RB Leipzig and Schalke coach was quick to point out that collective development will come before any talk of individual quality.
“So yes, it’s about how we can develop the whole team, not only Cristiano. We play in the most competitive league in the world so we need all the players on board.
“What I saw from Cristiano, he is more than willing to do that, to put his input into the team. His team-mates will have to do the same.”
Although it’s not ideal, Ronaldo’s enforced absence might just open the door to the likes of Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood.
The Reds have an envious array of attacking options, so the latest injury news could be seen as an opportunity rather than a crisis.
It’s to be hoped that a clean slate under a new regime could be hugely beneficial, especially for the talented but mercurial Martial. Could this be the moment he reignites his stuttering career?
Perhaps the more realistic outcome would appear to be a return to the first XI for the recently marginalised but hugely talented Greenwood.
The exciting starlet made a strong start to the current campaign before appearing to lose his way during the disastrous final weeks of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure.
This might be his chance to show Rangnick why he’s regarded as one of the brightest talents to come through the academy since the fabled Class of ’92.
Individual selections aside, it’s to be hoped that the entire squad is determined to wipe the slate clean, turn on the style and impress the new coach ahead of a favourable run of fixtures.