Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney says that his former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo is not the player he was a few years back.
In a brutal assessment of Ronaldo’s situation, Rooney did not hold back, telling it as it is without holding any punches.
United’s record goalscorer told reporters via The DailyMail, “The manager’s obviously gone a different way in terms of how they’re playing and been successful.”
“Him and (Lionel) Messi are two of the greatest players to ever play the game, but ultimately time catches up with us all. He’s obviously not the player he was when he was 22 or 23, for instance.”
“It’s a tough one for him.”
Rooney urged Ronaldo, who he enjoyed so much success with when the pair formed the tip of United’s attack from 2004-2009, to remain patient.
He admitted that knowing the 37-year-old, he would probably not accept his situation but he was sure an opportunity would come his way.
While Rooney insists that there may yet still be a chance for Ronaldo to return to the team and become Erik ten Hag’s primary striker, such a situation seems far from reality.
Ten Hag has clearly demonstrated a preference for high-energy pressing forwards that suit his way of playing – something Rooney alluded to in his comments.
With the return of a revitalised Anthony Martial from injury, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s chances are only likely to become more limited.
Even when given a chance, as he was in the Europa League against Omonia, Ronaldo has failed to stake a substantial claim to a guaranteed starting spot, with the likes of Marcus Rashford and Martial outdoing him.
This coupled with reports of disagreements between the player and manager as well as indications that a January exit is on the cards do not reflect positively on Ronaldo’s chances.
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