Liverpool great shares questionable Cristiano Ronaldo demand for next Manchester United manager

Manchester United have been told to drop top-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo to turn their season around.

That’s the verdict from Liverpool great John Barnes – who suggests the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is part of the current dilemma at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo set the ball rolling for United on Tuesday afternoon and his tenth goal of the campaign helped the team rubber-stamp Champions League progression with a game to spare.

Victory over Villarreal also marked Michael Carrick’s first assignment in caretaker charge.

PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino continues to be heavily linked with the vacancy and Manchester Evening News understands there is genuine interest from both parties to make that happen – even though one approach for the former Tottenham manager has already been knocked back by the Parisians.

Pochettino and other candidates to succeed Solskjaer have a list of problems that need ironing out at United, but Barnes thinks Ronaldo is right at the top of that agenda.

Speaking as part of a promotion for Bonus Code Bets, he said: “Manchester United need to prioritise the team, not the individual. If Ronaldo is scoring goals, but the team are losing – he’s part of that. You need players to run around when they’re not scoring.

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“There’s no point scoring one and conceding two. That’s why the balance of the team should be important. The way Ronaldo is playing in terms of his goal scoring is fantastic, but when they don’t have the ball, he’s part of a front four who don’t work defensively.”

Barnes added: “There’s no point in saying that just because he’s scoring goals, we’re happy with him. If you’re losing games, the person who’s scoring a lot of goals is part of the reason why you’re not defending well.

“Manchester United can’t afford to have Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford on the pitch at the same time as they aren’t going to work defensively. They might score two goals, but concede more. The balance of the team is the most important thing.”

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