The idea that Manchester United would be stronger without Cristiano Ronaldo has been refuted by Raphael Varane, who calls the seasoned striker “a legend.” Despite having his best season at Old Trafford with 24 goals across all competitions, Ronaldo faced harsh criticism as the Red Devils finished with their lowest-ever Premier League point total. Reports claim that Ronaldo is pushing for a transfer after United’s failure to qualify for the Champions League, but Varane still hopes to continue playing alongside the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Ronaldo’s perceived reluctance to press high up the pitch was seen as a major contributor to United’s struggles in 2021-22, and it has been suggested that Erik ten Hag’s new regime would run more smoothly if the 37-year-old does indeed move on this summer.
Varane has never questioned Ronaldo’s place in the team, as evidenced by his statement to BBC Sport during the club’s preseason tour of the US: “That debate was outside of the dressing room.” His merit is well known. And we are aware of his fame. As a result, we anticipate hearing a lot of commentary on both his and the team’s performance. “Cristiano is a great competitor. He’s a legend and he always helps the team, so obviously it’s very good to play with him.” Club captain Harry Maguire also came under scrutiny for his displays last term, which sparked talk of Ronaldo replacing him as skipper, but Ten Hag has confirmed that the defender will retain the armband for now. Maguire was booed in United’s last pre-season outing against Crystal Palace, but Varane remains fully behind his centre-back partner. “Competition is good for the team,” he said. “Harry is a very important player for us. He’s the captain and obviously he has a lot of good qualities. “The team will always be better with this competition. Every great club is like this. If everyone wants to fight for the team, that’s a good thing.”