Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo has endured a difficult campaign, but Wayne Rooney insists he can still turn things around.
Cristiano Ronaldo must “stay patient” and take his opportunities when they arise if he is to reignite his career, according to former Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney.
Portugal international Ronaldo has struggled in his second season at Old Trafford, starting just one of United’s seven Premier League games.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner led United’s scoring charts with 24 goals in the previous campaign, but his only goal in nine games this term was a penalty against Sheriff.
That came in the Europa League, a competition Ronaldo – the Champions League’s all-time record goalscorer – must now use to prove himself to manager Erik ten Hag.
Rooney, who played alongside Ronaldo between 2004 and 2009, says his former colleague will find life tough on the bench but can still turn things around.
“Obviously, the manager has taken a different path in terms of how they play and they’ve been successful,” the D.C. head coach said. United Rooney.
“Cristiano… he and [Lionel] Messi are two of the best players to ever play the game, but eventually time will catch up with us all.
“He’s obviously not the player he was when he was 22 or 23, for example. It’s difficult for him.
“Knowing him, he’s going to be very difficult to sit on the bench. I’m sure if he stays patient, his chances will come and then he’ll take them and try to push back.”
This is the first season since 2005-06, during his first spell at United, that Ronaldo has failed to score in his opening six league appearances.
The Sporting CP academy product has 12 shots in 207 minutes without scoring in the top flight this season, generating an Expected Goals Value (xG) of 0.8.
Only playmaker Christian Eriksen (1.2) has a higher xG among United players yet to score in the league this term.
Ronaldo is expected to be part of United’s squad for Sunday’s trip to Everton, against whom the Red Devils have won just one of their last seven league games.