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just ron-derful It's total nonsense to suggest that Cristiano Ronaldo is THE problem at United

Portuguese star may well be the best there has ever been at scoring goals

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Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring his 801st career goal

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring his 801st career goal

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring his 801st career goal

PLENTY of critics have suggested Cristiano Ronaldo has been part of the problem for Manchester United this season, but I’ve never heard so much nonsense.

As he smashed home the 800th and 801st goals of his remarkable career against Arsenal on Wednesday night, the enormity of Ronaldo’s achievements in the game were highlighted once again.

I did well to make 675 appearances in my career for club and country, yet Ronaldo has scored 126 more goals than games I played in! That is simply remarkable and I have to salute him.

While he’s not playing at the peak of his powers at the age of 36, Ronaldo is still a huge asset for United, and I’m sure Ralf Rangnick will appreciate that when he takes charge of the team for the first time against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford today.

All teams need a guy who can put the ball in the back of the net, and Ronaldo may well be the best there has ever been at doing that.

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Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring against Arsenal

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring against Arsenal

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring against Arsenal

There will always be the debate over who is the best from Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, with my vote always going to the little Argentinian maestro on that one.

Messi has been a joy to watch over the course of his career and I have not always been a fan of some of Ronaldo’s antics, as he flicks out at opponents and loses his temper on the pitch at times.

Greatness is not only judged on the number of goals and trophies, as you have to look at the legacy a sports person leaves behind when you are assessing where they deserve to be ranked among the game’s greats.

That’s why I feel Messi is in a league of his own, as he has poured joy into the game time and again – and his seventh Ballon d’Or title last Monday highlighted his genius, even in a year when he has not been at his best.

My adoration for Messi doesn’t take away anything from what Cristiano has done in the game and he deserves to be right up there as one of the best footballers of all time.

The issue some people have with Ronaldo now is that he doesn’t contribute as much to the game as he once did, and won’t track back to help the team defensively.

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Yet he is far from being the only one guilty of that at United this season, with the statistics confirming they have been one of the worst teams in the Premier League for pressing and putting the effort in.

It may be because Ronaldo is the biggest name that he was getting criticised for failing in his defensive duties, but that’s not what I want to see him doing.

You want to get this guy in and around the box doing what he does best, which is sticking the ball in the back of the net.

I’d have had nightmares about playing against Ronaldo, because you know he has the ability to stick the ball in the top corner at any moment – and will take half a chance if he gets it.

Matt Le Tissier used to be accused of lacking the commitment to chase down balls, but I hated playing against him, as I knew he could make a fool of you when you least expected it.

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Ralf Rangnick has a big job on his hands to get United firing on all cylinders

Ralf Rangnick has a big job on his hands to get United firing on all cylinders

Ralf Rangnick has a big job on his hands to get United firing on all cylinders

Players like that are priceless and I’d be amazed if Rangnick tries to push Ronaldo aside at United, simply because he doesn’t fit into the pressing style the interim United manager is noted for.

Ronaldo is not the problem here – and Rangnick needs to sort out the other areas of his team to make sure his goal contributions take United to where they want to be.

While it had to happen, I was sad to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lose his job at United and just two weeks later, the mood has changed dramatically around the club.

They are heading into today’s game against Palace at Old Trafford with fourth place in the Premier League very much in their sights – and that’s amazing when you consider some of the batterings they took in the final weeks of Solskjaer’s reign as manager.

That 5-0 Liverpool defeat stung and then the horrible performance at Watford proved to be the final straw for Ole. I would ask the United players who have performed so much better since the manager was sacked why this revival has happened.

Do these players only turn it on when the mood takes them?

We have been asking these questions of this United squad for some time, and Rangnick will now be the man looking for answers.

The new United manager has vowed to get the team organised and sort out their defensive problems – and if he achieves that aim, there is no reason why they can’t rescue this season.

Ronaldo and the galaxy of the attacking players in the United team will score goals every week and if Rangnick can build a team that keeps them out at the other end, the dark clouds that have been hovering over Old Trafford will quickly disperse.

They won’t win the league this season, as that dream disappeared over the horizon a long time ago.

The Premier League’s top three of Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool are in a league of their own right now .

Yet if Rangnick can get United into the Premier League’s top four and lay a few foundations over the next few months, this traumatic season could still end on a high.

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