Ronaldo’s future remains up in the air following Ten Hag’s arrival at Manchester United, with the attacker continuing to star on the international stage for Portugal
Erik ten Hag’s biggest headache at Manchester United is only growing amid Cristiano Ronaldo’s starring role for the Portugal national team.
The Dutchman has started his reign at Old Trafford, bidding to turn around the Red Devils after a disastrous season. Ronaldo was one of the few bright spots, scoring 24 goals and being named the club’s Player of the Year.
Despite his displays in his first season back in Manchester following his return from Juventus, there have been doubts about his suitability for the team moving forward. The question of whether to ditch him or build a team around him is one of the biggest facing Ten Hag this summer.
And coming to a decision is being made no easier by his performances on the international stage. Ronaldo was included in the Portugal squad for the Nations League games being held over the next fortnight.
He was left out of their line-up for the opening game against Spain, only coming on as a substitute in the draw. But he returned to the starting XI for the visit of Switzerland on Sunday night.
In typical Ronaldo fashion, he played a pivotal role to help Selecao move to the top of their group. He struck the free-kick that led to William Carvalho opening the scoring after Gregor Kobel could only parry.
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The superstar doubled his side’s lead 20 minutes later when he smashed in from 12 yards out. And he added a second soon after when he reacted quickest after Kobel spilled Diogo Jota’s shot.
That double extended Ronaldo’s international goals tally to 117, which is a record. And his man of the match performance led to him being hailed by Portugal boss Fernando Santos, in comments that will only add to Ten Hag’s headache.
“The captain is the best in the world. He arrives. When you say he’s the best in the world… how many more words are needed? I’ve said this I do not know how many times. These exhibits are nothing out of the ordinary. Support from fans? He’s captain of the team, he’s the ultimate example. I know of few fields where they are not with Cristiano, ”Santos said.
The “ultimate example” that Ronaldo set for his Portugal team-mates gives more credit to the view he should stay at Old Trafford. While many have criticized the Nations League, it is the only way for top international teams to face each other competitively outside of major tournaments.
And with Ronaldo impressing in this year edition of the competition, Ten Hag will likely be eyeing his performances closely. If he continues to star in their remaining games before the summer break, it could give Ronaldo’s hopes of becoming a key man under Ten Hag a huge boost.
Ronaldo will have two more chances to do just that, with Portugal facing Spain and the Czech Republic before the season finally ends. Those games may only add to Ten Hag’s headache around the future of the superstar.