Cristiano Ronaldo first captained Manchester United in March 2008 – beating Bolton 2-0 in the Premier League – and many believe he should take over Harry Maguire’s armband
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At the time, the current Portugal skipper would not have considered becoming a permanent United captain, but that has become a possibility given Harry Maguire’s form.
Many are now demanding that Ralf Rangnick hand Ronaldo the bandage. “It might take some of the pressure off him if Rangnick makes Ronaldo captain at short notice,” wrote ex-United midfielder Robbie Savage in his Mirror Soccer Column Last month.
Daily Mail Columnist Michah Richards added: “The question of whether the armband could be passed on to Cristiano Ronaldo in the short term is not a reflection of Harry’s ability or character.
Richards continued, “He [Ronaldo] knows how to deal with his great personality… a break from responsibility would do him good. He needs support to be the outstanding defender we know and expect from him again.”
Could Ronaldo become Man Utd captain?
Ronaldo’s first experience as United captain came against Bolton, when he scored in their 2-0 Premier League win at Old Trafford. In his post-match interview, he added: “For me, it is [captaining] an honour, it’s a pleasure. But my responsibility is still the same.
“It’s not because I’m a captain that I change my game, my personality. i stay the same person But you know, it’s always good to be captain and I’m captain tonight.”
Ronaldo’s comments suggest he would not turn down the opportunity to manage United in times of need – nor do they suggest a coup against a team-mate – and they should be taken with a pinch of salt.
They were made 14 years ago, at a time when United were in a very different place. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side had countless leaders including Rio FerdinandNemanja Vidic, Edwin van der Sar, Michael Carrick and the injured Gary Neville.
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Ronaldo, just 23, wasn’t the obvious choice. However, he is now reflecting on United’s lack of executives and his improved reputation as a skipper. After all, he is the man who guided Portugal to Euro 2016 and Nations League glory – their first major titles.
And, as exclusively revealed by Mirror Football last month, Ronaldo and Maguire were locked in a power struggle over the armband. Maguire was reportedly reluctant to give up the captaincy and took to social media to show the team’s unity.
“I’ve seen a lot of reports about this club that aren’t true and this is different,” Maguire claimed. “I’m not going to start posting everything that’s written, but I need to get this straight. We are united and focused on Sunday. Enjoy your day everyone.”
A lot has been written about Maguire in the press, but it’s interesting that he took offense at this particular story. There’s no doubting his pride as a United skipper – and his determination to stay in the prestigious role.
There are also question marks over Ronaldo’s long-term future with the team. Statistically, he has scored an impressive 18 goals in 32 games for United this season.
Still, the team has declined with him in attack and doesn’t look nearly as good as last season.
Ronaldo has just one year left on his existing contract and has been linked with a move from Old Trafford this summer. Maguire’s contract has 27 months left. He has been signed to lead United’s defense for years to come and it would be a hasty decision to scrap that plan after just one poor season.
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Perhaps most importantly, however, Rangnick dismissed the idea of handing the armband to Ronaldo. “I see no reason for it because Harry has been captain so far and as long as Harry plays he will be captain,” said the German in January.
Whether Maguire should remain United’s long-term captain is unclear, but it’s evident that if Rangnick made such a call, Ronaldo would only be a short-term option.
Ronaldo’s ‘honor’ and ‘joy’ of captaining United have not waned in the last 14 years, but neither has his desire to do his job for the team. At the moment his job is not the skipper – and that won’t change anytime soon.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/man-utd-captain-ronaldo-maguire-26586834 Cristiano Ronaldo's first-time comments as Man Utd captain amid Harry Maguire drama