EPL

Ronaldo must 'stay patient' to reignite Man Utd career, says Rooney

By Sports Desk October 08, 2022

Cristiano Ronaldo must "stay patient" and take his opportunities when they arise if he is to reignite his career, according to former Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney.

Portugal international Ronaldo has endured a difficult time of things in his second season back at Old Trafford, having started just one of United's seven Premier League games.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner led the scoring charts for United in the previous campaign with 24 goals, but his only goal in nine outings this term was a penalty against Sheriff.

That came in the Europa League, a competition Ronaldo – the Champions League's all-time record scorer – is now having to use to prove himself to manager Erik ten Hag.

Rooney, who played alongside Ronaldo between 2004 and 2009, says his former colleague will be finding life on the substitutes' bench tough but can still turn things around.

"The manager's obviously gone a different way in terms of how they're playing and been successful," said D.C. United head coach Rooney.

"Cristiano... him and [Lionel] Messi are two of the greatest players to ever play the game, but ultimately time catches up with us all. 

"He's obviously not the player he was when he was 22 or 23, for instance. It's a tough one for him.

"Knowing him, it'll be very difficult to sit on the bench. I'm sure if he stays patient, his chance will come and it's then him taking those chances and trying to force his way back in."

This is the first season since 2005-06, during his first spell at United, that Ronaldo has failed to score in his opening six league appearances.

The Sporting CP academy product has had 12 shots across 207 minutes without scoring in the top flight this season, generating an expected goals (xG) value of 0.8.

Only playmaker Christian Eriksen (1.2) has a higher xG among United players who have yet to score in the league this term.

Ronaldo is expected to be part of United's squad for Sunday's trip to Everton, against whom the Red Devils have won just one of their past seven league matches.

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