Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag told not to axe Cristiano Ronaldo as Portugal ace dazzles again

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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has been urged to stick with Cristiano Ronaldo by Express Sport readers as the Dutchman puts plans in place for his first campaign at Old Trafford. The veteran forward bagged two more goals for Portugal on Sunday to demonstrate that he still has plenty to offer at the top level. 

Ronaldo turned 37 last season, but still fired in enough goals to finish third in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot. That hardly distracted from the fact that United had a woeful season overall, and some believed that the Portuguese’s return to Old Trafford had played some part in the club’s downfall. 

Ten Hag is set to implement an energetic pressing style of play which has raised questions over Ronaldo’s suitability. But the Dutchman has already publicly stated that the former Real Madrid and Juventus superstar is in his plans. 

Having responded to a recent survey in their thousands, Express Sport readers believe that Ten Hag is making the right call. When asked whether United should keep Ronaldo, over 68 per cent said that they should, with just under 32 per cent feeling as though the Red Devils would be best served to sell him on. 

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Another show of support for Ronaldo comes at the perfect time, having just fired in two goals for Portugal on Sunday. William Carvalho and Joao Cancelo were also on target in a 4-0 win over Switzerland, which leaves them top of their UEFA Nations League group. 

It also takes the attacker’s fearsome international goals total to 117 – now eight ahead of the previous record set by Ali Daei. Ronaldo’s brace came at a perfect time to stay well ahead of his longstanding rival Lionel Messi, who notched a staggering five goals against Estonia on Sunday to take his international tally to 86.

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While Ronaldo is still set to feature at Old Trafford next term, United have also been linked with marquee strikers that could change the balance of power under Ten Hag. Rumours involving Benfica marksman Darwin Nunez are still making plenty of noise, and a frontman of his calibre would be expected to jeopardise Ronaldo’s stranglehold on the Red Devils’ lone striker role. 

Nunez burst onto the scene last term with 34 goals in all competitions, and he scored home and away against Liverpool in the Champions League. Benfica’s supposed £100million price tag could see the deal stall, however, and put more pressure back on Ronaldo’s shoulders, but the Portuguese appears ready for the challenge and motivated to make the most of Ten Hag’s reign. 

“I know he did a fantastic job for Ajax and that he’s an experienced coach but we need to give him time and things need to change the way he wants,” he said. “I hope we have success of course because if you have success all of Manchester are going to have success as well. So I wish him the best.

“We are happy and excited, not only the players but the supporters as well. I wish him the best and let’s believe that next year we’re going to win trophies. I was happy of course, to be back in a club that really raised my career so it was unbelievable, the feeling when I came back again, it was nice to feel the supporters, the happiness of them was great. I was and still am very happy to be here.”

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