Cristiano Ronaldo has already scored ten goals in 15 games for United.
But does it fit the style of the new coach Ralf Rangnick?
Photo: Eric Alonso / Getty Images
Two former Premier League grandees were in a clinch.
"He's not pressing!" Said Jamie Carragher.
“He hasn't pressed in four, five, six years!” Roy Keane replied.
But he just hits!
Carragher and Keane are TV experts at Sky, together they both play almost 1,000 first division games in England.
On the subject of Cristiano Ronaldo and Ralf Rangnick, however, they did not agree, on the contrary.
It got heated.
Rangnick and Ronaldo - can that work?
This question has been preoccupying English experts and the media since Manchester United announced the signing of Rangnick on Monday.
The 63-year-old will look after the team until the end of the season before a new head coach arrives.
Rangnick then secured a role in an advisory capacity.
He was "enthusiastic", said Rangnick about the job, the squad was "full of talent and has a good mix of youth and experience."
His coaching debut is postponed to Sunday, when Manchester meets Crystal Palace, the fault is Brexit.
A necessary work permit was missing until Thursday noon.
Rangnick will not be present at United's game against Arsenal in the evening (9:15 p.m.; TV: Sky; live ticker SPIEGEL.de).
But even at the game before that, the 1-1 draw at Chelsea on Sunday, when Rangnick had not yet been officially introduced, there was debate: Was Ronaldo on the bench in that game because he is simply incompatible with
So an anticipation of the coming months?
Two things need to be clarified first:
First: What is Rangnick's style? In short: lots of sprints, hard work. The basis is the assumption that every opponent is most vulnerable in the eight seconds or so after losing the ball. That is why Rangnick is primarily about forcing ball losses and then attacking at top speed. Because that takes strength and requires power, he relied on young players for his stations in Leipzig and Salzburg. “You have to be on fire,” said Rangnick last year about his game idea and what kind of table he needed for it. Because this is "mentally and physically demanding".
Second, does Ronaldo really press that little?
Michael Carrick, interim coach at United (and the one who last put Ronaldo on the bench) called this a "myth".
Game data, however, prove something else: According to the data portal fbref.com, Ronaldo put an opponent under pressure an average of 6.45 times per game last year.
The average is 14.35 attacks.
Ronaldo is far behind in this category, incidentally also behind Lionel Messi (9.55), who is held up to similar comfort.
At 36 years of age, Ronaldo must also divide his strength.
Ronaldo and Rangnick's style of play actually seem difficult to go together.
But that doesn't mean that Rangnick is betting Ronaldo on the bench.
Guardiola thought it was compatible: Ronaldo and Pressing
Before Ronaldo signed with United that summer, he appeared to be about to move to rivals Manchester City. The trainer there is himself an extreme advocate of winning the ball. Pep Guardiola is usually associated with possession of the ball, the tiki-taka man, but the fact that his teams have the ball all the time is because they hit so brilliantly when they
have it. That Guardiola wanted to sign Ronaldo. He apparently thought it was compatible: press and still field Ronaldo.
But Rangnick needs a certain amount of persuasion to do this.
The man whose football always came across as collectivist, in which every individual had to pull along for the team to be successful, is now working with one of the greatest individualists in recent football history.
If he leaves out his star player, it could lead to complications.
On the one hand, Ronaldo's goals would be missing, he is by far the best goalscorer in the United squad (ten goals in 15 games plus two assists).
In addition, Rangnick would create a permanent topic at the same time, which would boil up with every draw, every defeat.
Would the game with Ronaldo have been lost too?
Sancho could become the winner under Rangnick
And there should be many of these results even under Rangnick.
United's gap to the top of the league is 15 points in the table and felt a lot more.
The squad is put together erratically, Jadon Sancho, for example, came from Dortmund for around 85 million euros in the summer, but his ideal position in the system of Rangnick's predecessor Ole Gunnar Solskjær did not exist at all.
After all: the Sancho problem should soon no longer be one.
He is one of the potential winners of the change of coach.
The 4-2-2-2 system often chosen by Rangnick, in which the two outer midfielders are disguised tens because they are constantly moving inwards, is ideal for Sancho.
Midfielder Fred, one of the underrated players in the United squad, should also rise in the internal hierarchy, he is one of the best ball conquerors on the team.
There is a lack of suitable professionals in the defensive external positions.
At the moment, you hardly hear any doubts that Rangnick will be successful in England.
Instead, Rangnick's influence on modern football is extolled.
Whom he has not influenced everything!
Thomas Tuchel, Jürgen Klopp, Julian Nagelsmann, Hansi Flick, the best German coaches, who are also among the best international coaches.
That is true with the influence.
But they all broadened Rangnick's approach.
In addition to winning the ball, they have now cultivated their own possession, Tuchel, for example, is now much closer to Guardiola's style than Rangnick.
And so Tuchel and Klopp have something else in common: They overtook coach Ralf Rangnick.