Press conference with Manchester United's caretaker manager Michael Carrick ahead of his side's Premier League match against Chelsea
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Cristiano Ronaldo’s move back to Manchester United brought fresh hope and impetus to the red half of Manchester ahead of the season they were supposedly ready to battle for the title. Yet with the Red Devils eighth in the table, Ralf Rangnick has been called in to save the day and if he fails to deliver, Ronaldo has been tipped to walk away if the situation cannot be saved.
Having been level with runaway leaders Chelsea after five games, United fans were silently positive about their first proper title challenge in almost a decade.
Ronaldo was on fire, results were being ground out and there was a sense of belief at the Theatre of Dreams.
Yet just seven games later, they sit in eighth with old manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gone and Ralf Rangnick close to being appointed as interim manager.
With just four points from seven games, the United side are doubts even for the Champions League at this stage, and have left Rangnick to save their season.
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And, if the German can’t, Paul Merson believes there will be a mass exodus from United with Ronaldo the one to lead proceedings.
The ex-Arsenal and England international claims that the Portugal star won’t want to end his career outside of Europe’s premier competition.
Rangnick is a manager who likes to press from the front – something Ronaldo has been rumoured as not being willing to partake in.
But if the club continues with those ideologies with the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino, then the star could leave anyway if he is made to work hard up front.
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“He won’t be hanging around if they don’t finish in the top four because he will want to end his career in the Champions League,” Merson wrote for the Daily Star.
“And that doesn’t look terribly likely right now because United are a mess and will probably get thrashed by Chelsea this weekend.
“It might actually suit all parties if he leaves anyway because if they appoint Mauricio Pochettino and he wants to press from the front, you’re not doing that with Ronaldo.”
Portugal legend Ronaldo has been backed by his fellow countryman and former world-class midfielder Luis Figo.
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“It does not make sense. He is the best,” Figo said to A Bola.
“Football lives on results and the team is not achieving the expected results.
“But he’s being one of the best in the team in terms of performance, so I don’t understand these criticisms.”
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