That’s the verdict of former United defender Wes Brown, who has told the Sunday World in an exclusive interview that Ronaldo still has so much to offer as new United manager Ten Hag (inset) prepares to oversee a radical overhaul of the failing squad he is inheriting.
United’s disastrous season has just one game left to play, with their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League or winning a trophy long since gone.
While some have suggested Ronaldo’s giant presence in the United team has been one of the reasons why their star names have failed to perform this season, five-time Premier League title winner Brown has told us that the forward who has fired 24 goals this season is not a problem Ten Hag needs to remove.
“Ronaldo has to stay and I can’t see why anyone would dispute that,” declares Brown, speaking to the Sunday World at a Bookmaker.com event in London.
“Listen, people can say whatever they want about him, but he is the complete goal machine. Probably the best at putting the ball in the net of all-time.
“There have been so many times this season when we have not been at our best and he has dug us out of a hole.
“He was massive on some of the Champions League nights, the hat-trick against Tottenham a few weeks back was fantastic and there have been too many games when he has dug us out of trouble. That’s what Ronaldo brings to this team.
“He might be at the back end of his career and he is not the future, but he has got United out of a lot of trouble this season and I think Ten Hag needs to keep him for next season because how can you say United or any team don’t need Ronaldo."
When assessing the scale of the task Ten Hag faces as he leaves Ajax and arrives at Old Trafford, Brown paints a bleak picture for United fans.
With Liverpool and Manchester City more than 30 points ahead of United, the defender who started in the club’s 2008 Champions League final win against Chelsea in Moscow admits this story may get worse before it improves.
“This is a situation that will not change in one transfer window,” added the former defender who played 362 games for United in a 14-year career as a first team star.
“It might take two or three and that is a long time in football. Patience is not something football fans tend to show, but United fans will need that over the next couple of years.
“Hopefully Ten Hag is a man who can sort it. He looks hungry, he did some good work at Ajax and I think the supporters are genuinely intrigued to see how he gets on.
“There is a big re-build on the way. Players will go. He will have his own ideas but I do see change. And, potentially, a lot of it, too.
“Everyone can see the problems at United. They have been there for a long time now and they are not getting any better.
“This will take time and while I don’t like to admit it, it will take a long time to put it right.
“The performances we have seen this year have been hard to explain. We have been a team of two halves and this has been going on for a couple of seasons now.
“We tend to start matches slowly, fall behind and they try to fight back. I got to most games and we are letting a goal in over the first 10 minutes and we are trying to fight back.
“Then we have the players in the final third who can get us back into games and we have relied on them to dig out results.
“I was brought up at United to understand that the first principle is working hard. If you do that, if you are fully committed, you will always have a chance.
“I’m not saying these United players are not working hard, but clearly they have not worked as a team and this new manager has a big job on his hands.
“He needs to get across to the players what it means to play for Manchester United.
“I was reminded of that every day by Alex Ferguson, Roy Keane and the leaders in our team and maybe this team has not grasped that as much as they should.
“If you don’t put the work in, you are going to get beat, whatever badge you have on your shirt. Commitment will always take you a long way in this game, but that has been lacking this season at times.
“The new manager needs to change the mentality at the club because what we have seen this season has been hard to watch.”
Wes Brown spoke to the Sunday World at a Gambling.com event.