Solskjaer bemused by Ronaldo criticisms
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has dismissed media suggestions that Cristiano Ronaldo might be “a negative” for his Manchester United team.
The boss was facing the media ahead of Saturday’s derby against Manchester City (kick-off 12:30 GMT), and just three days after two Ronaldo goals rescued a point for the Reds in a Champions League draw away at Atalanta.
That performance made it an impressive nine goals in 10 starts for the Portuguese since he completed his stunning return to Old Trafford in August.
But despite this significant contribution, journalists present at Carrington asked Ole what he made of suggestions that Ronaldo might be a negative for the team in some ways.
“How people can say that is a negative?” replied Solskjaer. “I can't see one. He’s one of the best players that’s ever walked on this planet, and his impact so far – on and off the pitch – has been absolutely immense.
“The goals he scores, the way he conducts himself in and around the place… We’re really, really pleased he has started off as well as he has, but that’s what he does.
“He scores goals, he works for his team, and he’s a top, top professional.”
Speaking on MUTV, former United striker Andy Ritchie agreed with Ole’s analysis.
“Ronaldo a negative? That’s a stupid question!” laughed Ritchie.
“How can that be a negative? He’s had to change his game as a 36-year-old, but if he’s running around like a chicken with his head cut off, jumping in and trying to make big challenges, would he have had the presence of mind to score the goals he scored against Atalanta?”
Cristiano’s double in Bergamo took him to 127 United goals across his two spells at the club and, coincidentally, one beyond Solskjaer’s own tally of 126.
That means the Portugal international is now level with Brian McClair, and joint-15th on the club’s list of all-time leading goalscorers.
Should our no.7 find the net in Saturday’s Manchester derby, he will be just three behind legendary Busby Babes striker Tommy Taylor (131).