November 9, 2022 || 7:15 pm

(HD Video) Cristiano Ronaldo vs Referees: Crazy Moments!

Ten Hag handled the situation deftly, however, diminishing the notion of player power he firmly laid down the law and made it clear who was boss. Ronaldo was punished. Fined, banished to solo training, and not included in the trip to Chelsea.

But there was a way back. Ronaldo apologised for his actions, returned to the fold and look reinvigorated against FC Sheriff, persisting to score his third United goal of the season.

Ten Hag had asserted his authority and seemingly achieved an attitude adjustment out of Ronaldo. Not bad going. But then the following three games occurred. Due to a lack of attacking options with Jadon Sancho, Antony and Anthony Martial all sidelined, the manager has had little choice but to start Ronaldo in every one.

Though there were wins against West Ham and Real Sociedad, they were only narrow and nervy. United’s attack, which was pulsating and electric against Spurs and Chelsea, had grown static and unimaginative. Then came Sunday’s trip to Villa Park. Ronaldo was handed the armband in absence of Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes – a far cry from his position as pariah just over two weeks earlier – but was again completely ineffective.

As has been the case since his return to Manchester, Ronaldo’s lack of movement and pressing makes the whole side flat due to missing energy and impetus but at least last season he was still scoring. That isn’t the case anymore. At one point it looked like he would never lose it but time moves on for everyone. The sort of chances he would usually dispatch with his eyes closed are now ballooning over the bar or going well wide of the mark.

Ronaldo may be considered the best goalscorer of all time and his sensational return of well over 800 attests to that but he is finding the heads of ducking supporters more than the top corner now. Even the best can’t stay the best forever.

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