‘Maybe he should go to Portugal every week!’: Manchester United coach Ralf Rangnick hails Cristiano Ronaldo for his ‘best performance since I arrived’ after superb hat-trick against Tottenham… a week after causing a stir by flying home following injury
- Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick gave Man Utd a 3-2 win vs Tottenham on Saturday
- The 37-year-old was at his brilliant best to hand United a vital set of three points
- He caused a stir by returning to Portugal before last week’s Manchester derby
- But after his hat-trick Ralf Rangnick joked Ronaldo should go home every week
Ralf Rangnick saw Cristiano Ronaldo score a stunning hat-trick as Manchester United sank Tottenham at Old Trafford, and then said: ‘Maybe he should go to Portugal every week!’
Ronaldo caused a stir last weekend by flying home when he was ruled out of the Manchester derby with a hip flexor injury amid speculation he was unhappy about being a substitute.
But the 37-year-old superstar came roaring back after just two days of training this week to revive United’s hopes of a top-four finish as they beat Spurs 3-2.
Ralf Rangnick has joked that hat-trick hero Cristiano Ronaldo should go to Portugal every week
Rangnick admitted that managing Ronaldo is ‘a challenge’, having previously revealed that he did not know about the player’s flit home.
But United’s interim boss added: ‘We were just joking and maybe it makes sense to send him to Portugal for three days, then have him not training for two days, then have him back training on Thursday, if that’s the way he performs. Maybe we’ll have to do that for the rest of the season.
‘He was on a similar level in training on Thursday by the way, which is why I decided after that training session to play him from the start.
‘He made the difference for sure, but not only for the three goals. That was the best performance from him, at least since I arrived here, on and off the ball.’
Ronaldo’s hat-trick earned United a crucial 3-2 victory over Tottenham on Saturday night
He had caused a stir last week by returning to Portugal after missing the Manchester derby
But Rangnick hailed him for putting in ‘the best performance’ since he arrived at Old Trafford
Asked about managing a player like Ronaldo, Rangnick said: ‘Yeah it is challenging. It’s a challenge with a player like him.
‘But he showed today that he’s still got the quality to play for a club like Manchester United. If we want to be successful at the end of the season, we have to do it together.
‘He showed that he is physically able to do that, but we also have to admit he has not always been like that the past couple of weeks and months.’
Paul Pogba paid tribute to his teammate who officially became the leading scorer in FIFA’s history with 807 goals, although the exact totals of some of his rivals are a little vague.
‘Ronaldo was brilliant,’ said Pogba. ‘Everybody knows Cristiano – there’s no need to talk about him. That’s what he does. He didn’t play in the last game, but he comes back and scores three goals.
Ronaldo’s team-mate Paul Pogba (right) admitted the 37-year-old was ‘brilliant’ on the day
‘He has never been a problem. You have the best striker in history in our team, he cannot be a problem. Today the performance from him and all the team was very brilliant.’
Tottenham equalised twice through Harry Kane’s penalty and an own-goal from United skipper Harry Maguire, but Spurs boss Antonio Conte admitted that Ronaldo was the difference between the two teams.
‘Don’t forget that Cristiano and (Lionel) Messi are the two best players in the world in this era,’ said Conte.
‘Before it was (Diego) Maradona and Pele, but in this era it is Ronaldo and Messi. You have to know that when you play against this type of player, they are decisive.
‘I think honestly, without Ronaldo, for United it wasn’t a good night.’
Beaten Spurs boss Antonio Conte conceded they were up against one of the best in the world