Manchester United players including Harry Maguire and Mason Greenwood are claimed to have found Cristiano Ronaldo’s presence at the club a ‘challenge’ to their expected roles.
Ronaldo completed a sensational and unexpected return to Old Trafford at the end of the summer transfer window. The Portuguese has scored 14 goals in 21 appearances, almost three times as many as United’s next top scorers, but critics have still questioned whether he benefits the team.
Despite a positive start to interim manager Ralf Rangnick’s reign with a promising performance against Crystal Palace last month, the intense spotlight has been firmly on United in the wake of a sluggish win over Norwich, a draw against Newcastle and defeat at home to Wolves.
Reports of ‘very low’ morale surfaced following the Newcastle game, addressing concerns about cliques forming within a disjointed squad. Since losing to Wolves it has been further claimed that as many as 11 players are disillusioned with life at United and are seeking to leave.
The Daily Express writes that Maguire, Greenwood and Edinson Cavani have found Ronaldo’s ‘undroppable presence’ to be a ‘challenge’ to their respective roles.
Ronaldo is a natural leader and a demanding voice, which may have infringed on Maguire’s position as club captain. Greenwood meanwhile looked set to have an extended run as a ‘number nine’ until Ronaldo arrived, while Cavani has also been directly competing with him for a place.
It is even suggested that some other players are frustrated about the level of influence Ronaldo holds over the club’s Portuguese-speaking contingent. That would appear to tie back into earlier concerns about cliques within the squad.