Manchester United have "bigger problems" than Cristiano Ronaldo and there is "no logic" in selling the superstar forward, says Red Devils legend Roy Keane.

Ronaldo was named man of the match as United secured a 3-0 win over Brentford in their final home match of the Premier League season on Monday.

The Portugal great scored a second-half penalty at Old Trafford to take his Premier League account for the campaign to 18 – a tally bettered by only Mohamed Salah (23) and Son Heung-min (19).

Despite his excellent return in front of goal since rejoining the club from Juventus, many doubted whether Ronaldo could fit the high-pressing style preferred by interim boss Ralf Rangnick and if he would suit the methods of incoming boss Erik ten Hag.

Throw in the fact Ronaldo is now 37, there is a school of thought among some pundits that United should look to move on their star man and bring in younger forwards.

Former United captain Keane does not subscribe to such a notion, though, suggesting instead the club need to invest in other strikers to complement him.

Speaking on Monday Night Football for Sky Sports, Keane said: "It [Ronaldo's signing] was a short-term fix, for the fans, for the share price. But he has still scored the goals.

"Manchester United have bigger problems than Cristiano Ronaldo.

"I just think with the goals that he has got, his performances, warrants staying at the club. But Manchester United have to get players around him, they have to get other strikers in, there has to be competition for places.

"If the leading goalscorer, the man you are depending on, is 37 years of age then that is certainly not good but I would certainly be holding onto Ronaldo.

"There might be a conversation that needs to be had about the way you are going to play or that you are not going to be playing week in and week out. But why would you get rid of a player who scores that many goals? I don't see the logic in it."

However, Keane did accept Ronaldo must be more "mature" when it comes to acknowledging his advancing years means he will not always be a regular starter.

"I think a top manager will come in and have that conversation with him and cut that rubbish out, like at Brentford when he is shaking his head 15 minutes after coming off. That is where Ronaldo has to be more mature and be a better leader," Keane added.

"Of course you are disappointed when you come off but don't keep it up for one or two days, that is where you have to sort that maturity out.

"Even Ronaldo has to look at the bigger picture.

"And when you do have that conversation as a top manager, make it plain to him that won't be tolerated, if he is not buying into that then you do say, 'No, you're not going to be part of my plans'.

"If he is thinking he has to play every minute of every game, that is rubbish at his age anyway."

Ronaldo's team-mate Marcus Rashford is another whose long-term future at Old Trafford is shrouded in doubt.

The England forward has just four Premier League goals to his name this term and has never registered fewer than five in a campaign.

With United all but certain to miss out on Champions League football next season, there are rumours Rashford may be among those to be shipped out of Old Trafford ahead of what is likely to be a major rebuild under Ten Hag.

Having been left out in favour of Anthony Elanga and Juan Mata against Brentford, Keane questioned if Rashford still has the "hunger" to succeed at Old Trafford.

"Whether it's short on confidence, we've seen his quality before but we've not seen it for a year or two," said Keane.

"I think he's taken his eye off the ball, whatever [it is] with his off-the-field stuff. Rashford has been around for a few years now, he's got that experience and played international football.

"But it doesn't look like he's matured enough. We've seen a few games recently, when he was playing at Liverpool through the middle, I said he was playing like a child.

"It's as if he's not learnt about the game. He's drifting. He's lost the hunger. These young players get a lot of money and good luck to them, but I think he's lost the eye of the tiger and he's struggling to get it back.

"Wherever Man United want to go, Marcus is being left behind. He's left out again tonight and he must be sitting on the bench going 'where has it all gone wrong for me?'. He can get it back, he's shown it before, but sometimes when you do lose it, it is hard to get it back.

"He's got to get the hunger back into his game and make the runs like we've seen tonight from Elanga. Rashford has lost that bit of hunger, which is huge for a player. He is a talent but we're not seeing it."

Manchester United cruised to a 3-0 Premier League victory over Brentford on Monday in interim manager Ralf Rangnick's final home game in charge.

Rangnick, who will be replaced by Erik ten Hag at the end of the season, saw his side take the lead inside nine minutes through Bruno Fernandes' 50th goal for the club.

Cristiano Ronaldo had a first-half strike ruled out but converted from the penalty spot shortly after the hour mark and Raphael Varane forced in a third for the Red Devils.

United are back to within five points of fourth-placed Arsenal and three behind Tottenham in fifth, though they have played two games more than both sides.

Brentford were given an early let-off when Ronaldo lost his footing with only David Raya to beat, but the hosts did not have to wait much longer for their opener.

Anthony Elanga kept the ball in play and picked out Fernandes with the cutback for the midfielder to calmly steer home as he reached double figures for league goals this term.

Ronaldo thought he had added a second for United just before half-time, only for VAR to adjudge that the forward was marginally offside when converting Juan Mata's pass.

Brentford had brief spells on top, with Christian Eriksen testing David de Gea from long range, but Ronaldo killed off the game from the spot after being barged over by Rico Henry.

Varane rounded off the scoring 18 minutes from time with a shot that deflected past Raya to put some more shine on just a third win for his side since February.

 

Real Madrid and Villarreal have it all to do when they host Manchester City and Liverpool respectively in the second legs of their Champions League semi-final ties in midweek.

Fresh off the back of winning a second LaLiga title in three seasons, Madrid are aiming to overturn a 4-3 deficit against City following last week's thrilling first leg in Manchester.

That was the joint-highest scoring semi-final first leg in the competition's history, along with Liverpool 5-2 Roma in 2017-18, and more drama awaits in the Spanish capital.

Villarreal face an even bigger task, meanwhile, as they trail Liverpool 2-0 through an unfortunate Pervis Estupinan own goal and a Sadio Mane strike at Anfield.

However, only once before have the Reds won both legs of a knockout stage tie against Spanish opposition in the Champions League or its former guise as the European Cup.

So will it be an all-English final in Paris on May 28, or can the LaLiga pair turn things around on home turf?

Ahead of the second legs, Stats Perform digs into some of the best Opta numbers around the two semi-final ties.


Villarreal v Liverpool

To put the size of Villarreal's task into some perspective, only once before – Liverpool versus Barcelona in 2019 – has a team overturned a two-goal first-leg deficit at this stage of the Champions League.

Villarreal are unbeaten at home in Champions League knockout ties, albeit having won just two of their seven such games. The bad news, though, is that across those seven matches, neither side has managed to score more than once on any occasion.

If they are to have any hope of advancing then Unai Emery's men need to display far more attacking impetus than was on show last week, having attempted only one shot and failed to hit the target at Anfield. The last team to fail to record a shot on target across two legs of a Champions League semi-final was Deportivo de La Coruna in 2003-04, against Jose Mourinho's Porto.

Should Liverpool see the job through, they will become only the fourth side to reach the final of the European Cup/ Champions League on 10 or more occasions after Real Madrid (16), Bayern Munich and Milan (both 11), with their current tally of nine the most of any English side.

Jurgen Klopp's side have been formidable on the road in Europe this season, scoring 15 goals and conceding five across their five away Champions League matches, all of which have ended in victory. Should they win on Tuesday, they will boast the longest 100 per cent away record by any team in a single European Cup or Champions League campaign.

After netting in the first leg it is likely that Mane will again be selected in Liverpool's star-studded front three. The Senegal international has scored 14 knockout-stage goals for the Reds in the Champions League, leaving him one short of Chelsea legend Frank Lampard's record for the most for an English club.

 


Real Madrid v Manchester City

The omens are good for City as they have progressed from nine of their previous 10 knockout ties in the Champions League after winning the first leg, the only exception being against Monaco at the last-16 stage in 2016-17 after squandering a 5-3 advantage to lose 6-6 on away goals.

Madrid have been eliminated from all five previous Champions League semi-finals in which they have lost the first leg, meanwhile, though they have advanced from two of their past three knockout ties when losing the first leg – against Wolfsburg in the 2015-16 quarter-finals and versus Paris Saint-Germain in this season's last 16.

Los Blancos, the competition's most successful side, have lost their past two Champions League games, though only once before have they lost three on the spin. Head coach Carlo Ancelotti, incidentally, has never lost three in a row with this his 178th match.

A draw would be enough to see City through, but they have won their last three matches against Madrid in the Champions League and could become the third side to win four in a row against them in UEFA's showpiece competition, the only previous sides to have done so being Ajax (between 1973 and 1995) and Bayern Munich (between 2000 and 2002).

City boss Pep Guardiola has had his fair share of battles with Madrid down the years, not least in the Champions League. The Catalan coach has won four matches against Los Blancos in the competition – only Ottmar Hitzfeld (seven) has won more – with half of those wins coming at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Karim Benzema has rescued Madrid a number of times in Europe this season, the Frenchman having netted nine times in the knockout stage alone. Only former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo (10) has ever scored more in a single season, while Benzema could become the fourth player to score in both legs of the quarter-finals and semi-finals in a single season after Fernando Morientes (2003-04), Neymar (2014-15) and Edin Dzeko (2017-18). 

While Benzema has rightly received plenty of plaudits, strike partner Vinicius Junior has himself played a huge part in Madrid's charge for a record-extending 14th European Cup. The 28 open-play chances created by the Brazil international is the most of any player in the Champions League since Dusan Tadic (36) in 2018-19.

Cristiano Ronaldo's presence has been "one of the most positive things" in Manchester United's disappointing season, according to Diogo Dalot, who is looking forward to working with the "outstanding" Erik ten Hag.

Ronaldo has scored 23 goals and provided three assists in 36 appearances in all competitions since returning to Old Trafford at the start of the season, and has scored eight of the Red Devils past nine Premier League goals.

However, United sit sixth in the Premier League after enduring a frustrating season under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, and have gone five years without winning a trophy.

Despite the team's struggles, Dalot hailed the impact made by his club and Portugal team-mate.

"I'm sure I speak not just for me, but he's been one of the most positive things about this season," Dalot told Sky Sports. "To work with somebody who has his culture of working, his professionalism, his mentality and being close to him now... it's been very helpful for me and my career.

"The numbers are there, the stats are there, so we're obviously very happy to have him here. He's a very friendly person. When he feels he has the trust of other people, he gives 100 per cent of himself to you.

"Everybody gets along with him here, everyone likes to have him around. It's always a big plus to have a player and a person like this in the changing room."

The Red Devils face Brentford in their final home game of the Premier League season on Monday, with Ronaldo looking to add to a staggering 24 goal contributions (18 goals, six assists) in his past 18 games against newly-promoted sides in the competition. 

United are hoping the imminent arrival of Ajax boss Ten Hag will end a turbulent era for the club, and Dalot says the squad are excited by the prospect of adapting to the Dutchman's possession-based style.

"I don't think you need to see a lot to know that he is a great manager. What he's done with Ajax is something outstanding," Dalot added. "He plays very attractive football, I think every fan of United is excited to have a manager like this, and the players are as well.

"In our heads, it's going to be clear who the manager will be next season, and that's good because we go for our break knowing who to expect. Then we will have time in pre-season to work together, get our ideas right and start the new season."

Despite United's struggles, Dalot also says he has enjoyed this season on a personal level after making 27 appearances across all competitions, one more than fellow right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has struggled to adapt to Rangnick's high-pressing style.

Having received five caps for Portugal to date, Dalot also hoped his increased game time would boost his chances of featuring at the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

"It's difficult to say it's been a good season when the results are not quite there as we expected, but individually it's been good in terms of playing much more," he added. "Playing regularly has been one of my biggest desires since I came here, and I've fought very hard to get it.

"It's been good, with more minutes than other seasons, so I'm very happy with that. But obviously I want to combine that with team performances, with trophies and that's the aim for the next seasons.

"I like to see it season by season. This season has been special because I've played more regularly here, getting into the first team with the national team and we qualified for the World Cup.

"I want to be there so these are the aims, but we still have three games to play, national team games at the end of the season, so there's no point looking too much ahead when we have some goals to achieve at the end of the season."

Ralf Rangnick is optimistic it will not take too long for Manchester United to become a force again in a new era under Erik ten Hag.

Ten Haag will leave his role as Ajax head coach to take over from interim United manager Rangnick at the end of the season.

The Dutchman faces a rebuilding job, with United only sixth in the Premier League and set to miss out on Champions League football after falling short of expectations again this season.

It is five years since the 20-time champions of England last won a trophy and Rangnick previously stated that the club need "open-heart surgery" in order to turn their fortunes around

Rangnick, who will take over as Austria coach but is due to remain at Old Trafford in a consultancy role, says he has not yet spoken to Ten Hag since the Ajax coach was appointed as his successor.

Ahead of Monday's Premier League encounter with Brentford, the 63-year-old told Sky Sports: "I'm pretty sure he's [Ten Hag] got my phone number!

"He's got another couple of games to play with Ajax, we have another three games to play here. Whenever he wants to speak with me and exchange our opinions, I'm more than happy to do that."

Rangnick believes the next man to take the United hotseat can be successful in the not-too-distant future if the club learn from their mistakes and recruit wisely.

He added: "Knowing Erik will be the manager, with a good recruitment process and bringing in the right players, I'm very positive the supporters and the media will be able to see a better team and, at the end, hopefully a better position in the league.

"There are quite a few good examples in the league with when Jurgen Klopp came to Liverpool, Pep Guardiola to Manchester City, Thomas Tuchel came to Chelsea – yes, he came in the middle of the season and inherited a top-quality squad, but you still need to win the Champions League.

"If you know what you're looking for, the profiles of the different positions you need, it shouldn't hopefully take too long."

Rangnick has no idea what part Cristiano Ronaldo will play under Ten Hag, though.

He added: "This is a question you need to ask Erik ten Hag.

"He's showed that he can still be a vital part of this team, but it's obvious the team needs some more strikers. There should be two or three new strikers next season, it's pretty obvious."

After a third successive Champions League title, Cristiano Ronaldo's departure for Juventus was meant to signal the end for a team that had scaled the heights of European football.

The annus horribilis of the 2018-19 season seemed to reaffirm such sentiment, but with Real Madrid now claiming a second LaLiga title and sitting another hair's breadth from the Champions League final since that departure, it seems even more irrational in hindsight.

How have Madrid been able to sustain their level among the best in European football and keep fighting for silverware on multiple fronts despite such a seemingly transformative absence? How have they won this season's LaLiga title with such ease?

Despite a severely weakened Barcelona and a supposed closing of the gap to the rest, Madrid can still reach 90 points this season.

 

In reality, their three successive Champions League triumphs during Zinedine Zidane's first spell in charge were largely due to the ideal balance of their midfield, comprising of Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric.

To use but one example, bring into perspective how could they nullify Liverpool's ability to press in both the 2017-18 final and then again in the 2020-21 quarter-final over two legs, with Zidane in charge for a second time.

It bears repeating. Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp – a great pressing team that squeezes the opposition into submission, consistently forces errors and is tactically transforming football before our eyes – were eventually rendered inert on multiple occasions.

At Madrid's core though, the collective did and continues to flourish via the creative and incorporative link between Modric and Karim Benzema, both with and without the ball. In a burgeoning era of automation and systems, they are the system.

 

The thing that maximises the duo's technical proficiency is their ability to improvise and embrace risk in the exploitation of space. If automation was football's equivalent to the legend of developing a pen in space, the link between Modric and Benzema is the comparative pencil – just as effective, far more practical.

Granted, that reliance on them creates volatility. When the two are on the pitch, they give Los Blancos a distinct flexibility. When they're not together, the collective is without a reference point and their relationship between defence and attack is compromised – as it was in their thumping in El Clasico in March or even going back to the 2016-17 season and their Copa del Rey elimination in the quarter-final over two legs to Celta Vigo.

 

Viewing Madrid through this prism makes a lot of other aspects relating to them clearer – the ability to feasibly play Lucas Vazquez at right-back in Dani Carvajal's absence, the varying shifts in form from the likes of Vinicius Junior and Kroos this season, or the differing fates of Eduardo Camavinga and Martin Odegaard upon attempting to integrate them into the midfield.

On that latter point, within this context, Camavinga earning more scope at Kroos' expense instead of Modric does not become much of a surprise – because while Benzema has elite comparisons in the form of Robert Lewandowski and Harry Kane in terms of profile, Modric has always been one of a kind.

Midfielders as complete as Modric, possessing the effortless ability to blur the line between the elegant and the practical, simply did not exist before him – at least as a deep-lying player and not deployed higher up the pitch.

At the incomprehensible age of 36, the Croatia international is still unique, still elite. Ahead of Saturday's match, he led Madrid's midfielders in all competitions this season for chances created in open play per 90 minutes (1.1), expected assists (0.17) and trailed only Camavinga (1.5) for dribbles completed (1.4).

Only Kroos (12.5) bettered Modric (9.5) for passes into the final third per 90 in all competitions, but the German's passing represents an increasingly singular role in Madrid's midfield. He is a world-class distributor, but it is maximised as a result of the spaces that Benzema and Modric create.

No player is more relevant in this regard, however, than Vinicius. His own progression has also accelerated upon that basis. Benzema and Modric's ability to collapse opposition defences leaves the opposition full-back on Vinicius' side isolated, and the 21-year-old can be destructive when he has momentum to dribble.

This all matters because it creates a cumulative impact on how Madrid score their goals. In all competitions ahead of Saturday's game, Vinicius topped the team for dribbles completed per 90 (3.0), chances created from open play (2.3) and expected assists (0.23). 

This goes some way to explaining Benzema's dramatic increase in rate of goal scoring, especially comparing 25 goals in 29 league appearances heading into the weekend to his tally of five LaLiga goals in 2017-18.

Much like Modric, 34-year-old Benzema has the capacity to be flexible as that central striker, and to do what the game requires of him in any given moment. 

 

The reference point Benzema and Modric provide has been the primary dynamic in this season's title win – Carlo Ancelotti's first LaLiga success. They can win games in an instant but collectively, the consequent ability to manage games and keep applying pressure from either winning or losing positions, on the back of both territorial and positional superiority, has been critical.

Ultimately, intelligent footballers gravitate towards one another and it is one of most profound and beautiful aspects of the sport. While Madrid will eventually go on without Benzema and Modric, their interaction and how it has built a worthy title winner this season has only underlined that.

Cristiano Ronaldo is a "phenomenon" who will have a big part to play at Manchester United under incoming head coach Erik ten Hag, according to Gary Neville.

Portugal international Ronaldo struck his 17th Premier League goal of the campaign – and 23rd in all competitions – in United's 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Thursday.

Despite now being 37 years of age, Ronaldo is level with Son Heung-min and behind only Mohamed Salah (22) in the Premier League scoring charts this term.

Indeed, only nine other players from Europe's top five leagues have scored more goals in all competitions in 2021-22 than Ronaldo.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner's place in the side has been questioned at times this season, but Neville insists he is too good a player to overlook – no matter who is in charge.

"He lifts the fans, he gets them on the edge of their seats, takes his chances, and it'll be really interesting to see what happens with Erik Ten Hag," Neville told Sky Sports.

"We know he plays with an aggressive press, he tries to win the ball high up the pitch, that isn't Cristiano's strong point and we know that. But he will want a goalscorer. 

"He will want someone who can put the ball in the back of the net 20 or 25 times. Can United use him as a bridge next season to get them through Erik Ten Hag's first season? 

"Ronaldo is a phenomenon. He's achieved everything and more in the game, his professionalism is beyond anything you could ever wish for, really.

"He still continues – his persistence, his determination to score goals is absolutely incredible. You can't speak highly enough of him. 

"His goal [against Chelsea] was wonderful and he doesn't really lose that belief in himself when the rest of the team is really lacking in confidence – his is still there."

Ronaldo has scored eight of his side's last nine goals, with his strikes across the season worth 14 Premier League points to United, who are languishing down in fifth.

Ralf Rangnick will be replaced by Ajax boss Ten Hag ahead of next season and ex-United midfielder Roy Keane also expects Ronaldo to play a part under the Dutchman.

"I know people are quick to criticise what [Ronaldo] doesn't do, in terms of his pressing, but he was never great at that anyway," Keane said.

"He's the greatest at the hardest part of the game – putting the ball in the back of the net.

"Ten Hag will be having a sleepless night watching the team, but if you've got a player in the group who can score that amount of goals, they have to be involved. 

"He'll want to play week-in, week-out, the new manager will come in and will be looking for another striker but Ronaldo's not hanging around unless he's playing."

Cristiano Ronaldo's performance against Chelsea on Thursday proved he can still be a "great help" to Manchester United next season under Erik ten Hag, according to interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

United were generally tame once again in the 1-1 draw, but Ronaldo did at least ensure the Red Devils avoided suffering three successive Premier League defeats for the first time since 2015.

Just 119 seconds after Marcos Alonso had put Chelsea in front at Old Trafford, Ronaldo latched on to Nemanja Matic's scooped pass over the defence and drilled home.

Ronaldo has now scored eight of United's nine most recent goals in the Premier League, with Fred the only other player to net for the club this month.

Thursday's goal took Ronaldo to 17 for the season in the league, a haul bettered by only Mohamed Salah, but Rangnick was keen to highlight the striker's all-round performance as he saluted his defensive work rate.

Ronaldo's future beyond the end of the season does look uncertain with United set for a massive clear-out and rebuild, but Rangnick can see a role for the 37-year-old if he is able to replicate such performances.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Rangnick said: "Not only the goal he scored today, also his whole performance, attitude and how often he helped out in our own half.

"At 37, a player like him – this is not normal to do that. He showed that today. If he plays like he played today, he can still be a great help for this team.

"In the end it's both Erik's and Cris' decision what they want to do, it's not for me to speak about that.

"But as I said, today the performance of Cris was really great."

Cristiano Ronaldo scored an excellent equaliser to spare Manchester United a third successive Premier League defeat as they drew 1-1 at home to Chelsea on Thursday.

Ralf Rangnick's side lost their previous two games to Liverpool and Arsenal by an aggregate score of 7-1 and, while the performance on their return to Old Trafford was by no means impressive, they at least avoided another loss.

Despite a dismal first-half showing in which their midfield was routinely cut open, United somehow made it until the break without conceding, though Chelsea's deserved breakthrough did arrive via Marcos Alonso with an hour played.

But Ronaldo – who has been responsible for five of their six Premier League goals this month – swiftly restored parity against the run of play and Thomas Tuchel's men failed to regain the lead.

Chelsea dominated the first half almost from start to finish, with a brief moment of United pressure culminating in Ronaldo putting a close-range bicycle-kick over.

Otherwise, United had to rely on wasteful Chelsea finishing and David de Gea to keep the scoreline level, with the Spaniard crucially blocking Kai Havertz's goal-bound effort with his midriff after the Blues carved through the hosts with ease.

Havertz went close again nine minutes before half-time, heading Reece James' cross right at De Gea.

Little changed after the restart – except Chelsea finally made their pressure count after 60 minutes, as Alonso smashed a volley into De Gea's bottom-left corner.

But few would have anticipated what happened just two minutes later, with Ronaldo latching on to Nemanja Matic's scooped pass and hammering home an equaliser.

Chelsea might have clinched a deserved late winner, but James' curling effort clipped the outside of the post.

Manchester United's hopes of playing Champions League football next season are surely over after losing 3-1 away to fellow top-four hopefuls Arsenal in a Premier League thriller.

United travelled to the Emirates hoping for a response to their 4-0 humiliation by Liverpool and, although their general display was improved, defensively they were unconvincing again.

Nuno Tavares had Arsenal in front early on and a Bukayo Saka penalty made it 2-0 just before Cristiano Ronaldo netted his 100th Premier League goal – though that was just the tip of the iceberg amid an entertaining first half.

The visitors began the second period well and somehow failed to equalise, with Bruno Fernandes missing a penalty and Diogo Dalot hitting the post, with Granit Xhaka's piledriver then dealing the hammer blow.

United made another slow start as Saka tested David de Gea after two defenders missed the ball and Tavares tapped in the rebound for a third-minute lead.

The response from United was purposeful. They created several chances, hit the crossbar from range via Dalot and were controversially denied a penalty when Cedric Soares handled in the box.

But Arsenal then increased their lead just past the half-hour.

Eddie Nketiah had a goal disallowed for offside, yet Alex Telles was deemed to have fouled Saka just prior in the same VAR check and the winger converted the resulting penalty.

United swiftly pulled one back, Ronaldo expertly turning in Nemanja Matic's wonderful curling cross.

They spurned an opportunity to draw level from the spot, though, as Fernandes hit his kick against the post early in the second half – Ronaldo then had a second goal disallowed for a marginal offside.

Dalot struck the goal frame again with United's next attack and Arsenal capitalised on the profligacy in the 70th minute when Xhaka blasted past De Gea from 30 yards to seal victory.

Cristiano Ronaldo has reached 100 Premier League goals after netting for Manchester United against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.

The 37-year-old bought up his Premier League century over 19 years after his debut in the competition when he swept home from Nemanja Matic's cross.

Ronaldo's goal hauled United back into the contest after they had found themselves 2-0 down following goals from Nuno Tavares and Bukayo Saka.

It came at the end of a difficult week for Ronaldo, who confirmed the loss of his baby son on Monday and subsequently missed United's defeat to Liverpool a day later.

Having hit all of those goals in United colours, Ronaldo becomes just the third player to reach the landmark while playing solely for the Red Devils, along with former team-mates Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs.

Ronaldo has now scored 16 league goals since returning to Old Trafford despite the team enduring a frustrating season overall. 

The United great had already tallied up 84 goals in the competition before departing for Real Madrid in 2009, with his finest goalscoring campaign coming in 2007-08 as the Red Devils lifted the Premier League and Champions League trophies. 

Having scored 31 goals in that outstanding campaign, he remains one of just five players to hit 30 goals in a single Premier League season, alongside Alan Shearer, Andy Cole, Luis Suarez, and Mohamed Salah.

Despite United underwhelming this season, Ronaldo has continued to make history since returning to the club.

The Portuguese forward scored twice on his second debut for the club against Newcastle United last September, 12 years and 124 days after recording his last Premier League goal in May 2009, the second-longest gap between two strikes by any player in the competition's history (after Matt Jackson's gap of 13 years and 187 days between 1993 and 2006).

Ronaldo has also hit two hat-tricks in the competition since turning 37 in February, in 3-2 wins over Tottenham and Norwich City. Those displays made him just the third player aged 37 or over to hit multiple goals in a Premier League game after Teddy Sheringham and Graham Alexander, and just the second to do so more than once (Alexander also twice).

He is one of just four players to score at least 100 goals in two of Europe's big five leagues, having also reached the landmark for Real Madrid in LaLiga. United team-mate Edinson Cavani (Ligue 1, Serie A), Gonzalo Higuain (LaLiga, Serie A) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Ligue 1, Serie A) are the others on that exclusive list.

While Ronaldo's future could become unclear if United miss out on a top-four finish, the striker will be looking to carry his fine goalscoring form into what will surely be his final World Cup appearance in Qatar later this year.

Cristiano Ronaldo was included in Manchester United line-up for the Red Devils' trip to top-four rivals Arsenal, while captain Harry Maguire was named among the substitutes.

Superstar forward Ronaldo, who is just one goal away from bringing up a career century of Premier League strikes after scoring 15 in the top flight this season, missed Tuesday's 4-0 defeat at Liverpool after announcing the loss of his son on Monday. 

Ronaldo has scored six goals in his last seven appearances against Arsenal in all competitions, including twice in the reverse fixture in December, and a brace on his last visit to the Emirates in May 2009 in the Champions League semi-finals.

Meanwhile, Maguire has been named among the substitutes by caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick. The England defender received a bomb threat to his home this week, with police later confirming no suspicious object was found after a search.

Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane will partner one another in the heart of the United defence, while Bruno Fernandes has taken the captain's armband in the absence of Maguire.

Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have also been dropped to the bench after the humiliating loss at Anfield, with Paul Pogba's injury ruling him out entirely as Alex Telles, Jadon Sancho, and Scott McTominay return to Rangnick's XI.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have made just one change from their 4-2 win over Chelsea, introducing Cedric Soares in place of Rob Holding at the back.

United travel to the Emirates three points behind the Gunners in the Premier League table having played one game more, as Rangnick looks to secure Champions League football before making way for Erik ten Hag.

Cristiano Ronaldo is back in contention for Manchester United's Premier League meeting with Arsenal, but team-mate Paul Pogba may have played his last game for the club.

United interim boss Ralf Rangnick confirmed on Friday that the injury sustained by Pogba against Liverpool will keep the midfielder out for a month.

With Pogba out of contract at the end of the season, and United's final game of 2021-22 coming on May 22, Rangnick does not expect the France international to feature again.

"It is very unlikely that he will play until the end of the season again," Rangnick said.

"The doctor told me that it will take four weeks minimum for him to recover and since last game is at end of May, I don't think it's very likely he will play again."

Pogba is widely expected to depart Old Trafford for a second time in the next transfer window after a somewhat disappointing six-season spell at the club.

The 29-year-old, who won the World Cup in 2018 and remains a regular for France, was jeered by his own fans after being substituted in last week's 3-2 win over Norwich City.

He started Tuesday's 4-0 loss to Liverpool but lasted just 10 minutes before hobbling off with a heel injury, with that now likely to be his final appearance in a United shirt.

 

Rangnick provided some more positive news ahead of Saturday's early kick-off against top-four rivals Arsenal, however, with three other players back available.

Scott McTominay, Raphael Varane and Ronaldo each missed the Liverpool game but will be part of United's squad for the contest at Emirates Stadium.

Ronaldo was given time off after confirming in a social media post on Monday that his baby son had passed away.

Providing an update on the eve of the Arsenal match, Rangnick said: "Cristiano has been training with us and is available again."

Ronaldo has scored six goals in his last seven appearances against Arsenal in all competitions, including a brace on his last visit to Emirates Stadium in May 2009.

United make the trip to London sitting three points behind fifth-placed Arsenal and Tottenham in fourth, having played a game more than both top-four rivals.

The Red Devils announced on the back of their heavy loss to Liverpool that Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag will succeed interim boss Rangnick at the end of the season.

Rangnick's sole focus between now and the end of May is guiding United into the Champions League, making Saturday's meeting with Arsenal effectively must-win.

"We just need to make sure we play far better than we did against Liverpool," Rangnick said. "This is the only way to deal with it. 

"We need to get the best possible team on the pitch and play in a different way, with more conviction, more confidence and more aggressive behaviour on the pitch. 

"We will have to show a completely different performance."

United are winless in their past three home league matches against Arsenal, failing to score each time – never before have they gone four in a row without a goal in this fixture.

Cristiano Ronaldo has thanked the Liverpool and Manchester United fans who came together to pay tribute to the five-time Ballon d'Or winner on Tuesday.

Ronaldo missed United's 4-0 defeat to rivals Liverpool at Anfield after the loss of his newborn son.

But supporters of both teams made clear United's number seven was in their thoughts with applause after seven minutes.

The Liverpool fans also broke into a chorus of 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.

And in his first Instagram post since confirming his son's death, Ronaldo shared a clip of that moment alongside a message.

"One world... One sport... One global family... Thanks, Anfield," he wrote.

"Me and my family will never forget this moment of respect and compassion."

Erik ten Hag has been charged with the task of trying to make Manchester United a force again, and he faces a significant rebuilding job.

The Dutchman will leave Ajax at the end of the season to take charge of the Red Devils after agreeing a deal until June 2025, with the option of a further year.

It is not just shaping a squad that has struggled to coalesce this season that will be on his to-do list.

Ten Hag's in-tray will be piled high as he sets about making a short-term impact, while implementing the "long-term vision" that impressed United's hierarchy. 

Stats Perform looks at the pressing issues for the 52-year-old to address.

Change the mentality

A 3-2 win over Norwich City last weekend aside, United have been in poor form and are in danger of ending the season with a whimper.

It was men against boys as the Red Devils were thumped 4-0 at Liverpool on Tuesday and there have been far too many inept displays this season from a side lacking fight and quality.

Interim boss Ralf Rangnick has been unable to get a tune out of an underperforming group of players since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked last November, and a huge shake-up is needed.

Add some steel

United must build solid foundations in a new era under Ten Hag, as they have been far too fragile in another hugely disappointing season.

Ten Hag needs a strong spine in his team, and if he was watching the way Liverpool blew them away at Anfield, he will know United have anything but that at the moment.

United fans will demand winners who will put their body on the line in the heat of battle and there is a real shortage of them in the current squad.

Recruit wisely

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 21 goals after sensationally rejoining United from Juventus last September, but his signing was surely only ever going to be a short-term fix at best.

Solskjaer certainly appeared to struggle to build a team around the Portugal captain, and it would be no great surprise if the 37-year-old is on the move again.

Regardless of whether Ronaldo stays, Ten Hag will need to be backed in the transfer market and there must be a big overhaul, with Paul Pogba among those expected to depart.

Bring back silverware

There is no plainer objective for the new boss – he will be marked as a success or a failure by the trophies he wins during his time at the helm.

Solskjaer left the club with the third-best win rate in United's history, but he paid the price for a lack of silverware.

United have only been top of the Premier League at the end of a calendar month twice since Alex Ferguson left – in September 2015 and August 2017. It will surely take Ten Hag time to get them challenging for the title again, so he must ensure they make their presence felt in cup competitions.

Consider the captaincy

It has been a season to forget for United captain Harry Maguire.

The Red Devils skipper's talents are clear, as he has shown for club and country, but the centre-back has lost his way at Old Trafford.

The responsibility of leading a struggling side appears to have affected the England defender, and Ten Hag may decide to start his reign by appointing a new captain.

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