Featured image courtesy of Creator: James Gill - Danehouse Credit: Getty Images
Write Ronaldo off at your peril. Time and time again throughout his career he has proved critics wrong and the recent win over Tottenham was another one of those timely reminders.
The way Ronaldo has carried Manchester United in critical stages of this season shows how hungry he is for success and to me, proves that he desperately wants this fairytale return to work out. The only way it still can is if United find a way to get top four, a situation that seems unlikely but with Ronaldo back to his best, far from impossible. May it be by pulling off the inconceivable and winning the Champions League or beating Arsenal, West Ham and Spurs to fourth place, achieving Champions League football is vital for any hope of Ronaldo staying. GOATS don't play in the Europa League.
His scintillating, throwback hat-trick on Saturday evening was a timely reminder of why he has been so successful during his career. Not only can he pull off extraordinary long-range goals like his first one against Spurs, he is always the man who steps up when you need him most. His 81st-minute bullet header was exactly that at a time when frustration was growing and a familiar result loomed. 12 Premier League goals in 24 appearances at 37-years-old isn't bad, is it? The only issue is the ridiculously high standards he has set throughout his career, meaning people expect him to produce that in every game. Only Messi is analysed on a game by game basis like Ronaldo is but as shown last night, Ronaldo is a man who thrives on pressure and expectation.
While Ronaldo is still the King of Old Trafford, Jadon Sancho is quietly going about his business and has easily been United's most consistent performer in 2022. The £75m man will surely prove to be a bargain and there is a clear pathway for him to become United's main man in the not so distant future. Sancho has two goals and three assists in his last six league games but his performances have also become more exciting as the season has gone on. His ability to take his man on and attack with speed and directness makes him very difficult to defend against. That directness has been followed by end product in his last two outings, which were both big games in their own right. Firstly in the Manchester derby, he cut inside sharply before curling an effort coolly past Ederson into the bottom right-hand corner. Against Spurs he produced another impressive display and helped United retake the lead when he got onto a well-timed pass before sliding the ball perfectly into Ronaldo's feet.
His form is getting back to the levels he was at in the Bundesliga and the expectation now is that he will start to reach the levels his talent is destined for. He may have to wait in line before he is crowned the King of Old Trafford but Jadon Sancho's future for club and country looks destined for greatness.