This time, there have been no histrionics. No drama. Cristiano Ronaldo left the sphere as anonymously as he had occupied it for the earlier hour and a half as a smattering of boos greeted the ultimate whistle at Outdated Trafford.
Sure, there had been the same old arm-waving. Moments when he shook his head and muttered to himself after issues didn’t go his manner. You possibly can by no means ignore the person utterly.
However this was one other colourless show from Ronaldo, one which left him with out a purpose in six video games in 2022 – his worst run since a seven-match drought for United within the 2008-09 season.
Cristiano Ronaldo lower a pissed off determine as Manchester United drew 1-1 in opposition to Southampton
Ronaldo, 37, has now gone six video games with out a purpose and his affect continues to wane
The one time the Portugal star hit the goal with any actual drive was when he appeared to by accident spit on team-mate Anthony Elanga at full time, catching the United substitute on the again.
It may have been a distinct story had Ronaldo utilized the identical energy to his shot in direction of an empty purpose after rounding Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster within the sixth minute however Romain Perraud was in a position to get again and clear.
There was one other effort straight at Forster within the second half in addition to two moments when Ronaldo was offside earlier than scoring one disallowed purpose and establishing one other for Paul Pogba.
The Portugal worldwide netted previous Fraser Forster solely to see his purpose dominated out for offside
However that was it. 4 days after an indignant exit down the tunnel at Burnley, Ronaldo lower a resigned determine when Stuart Attwell known as a halt to proceedings right here.
‘Sure, in fact, he would have wished to attain,’ mentioned United’s interim supervisor Ralf Rangnick. ‘I’d have wished him to attain. He had his possibilities in the present day.’
Ronaldo will need to go once more when United meet Brighton at Outdated Trafford on Tuesday night time, and can nearly definitely get his want if Edinson Cavani fails to recuperate from a groin harm.
Cavani celebrates his thirty fifth birthday on Monday and it’s a damning indictment of United’s ahead planning that their two strikers have a mixed age of 72.
The Uruguayan can not keep match and Ronaldo’s powers are clearly waning after turning 37 earlier this month.
Rangnick confirmed Cavani’s impending departure this summer season when he mentioned on Friday that it’s ‘apparent’ the membership should purchase a brand new striker. However the Ronaldo debate will go on. Ought to he keep for an additional season at Outdated Trafford?
There may be hypothesis that he’ll ask to go away if United don’t end within the high 4 however what number of different Champions League golf equipment are going to need him at his age and be ready to pay the thick finish of £500,000 per week?
Do United even need to preserve Ronaldo? In spite of everything, the motivation for bringing him again within the first place was to keep away from the unthinkable prospect of him becoming a member of Manchester Metropolis.
He was signed to attain targets and 14 earlier than the tip of December was a good return.
No different United participant has contributed greater than half as many because the membership’s main scorer.
Edison Cavani has been interim supervisor Ralph Rangnick’s go to man forward of Ronaldo
In addition to Cavani, questions marks stay over the way forward for Ronaldo who may go away the membership
Rangnick shall be hoping Ronaldo can flip his fortunes round and assist his facet ahead
However there’s little doubt that Ronaldo’s sudden return has had an influence on the general group dynamic. Now the targets have dried up for him, it has change into a fair greater drawback.
Cavani is on his manner, and with Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood going through unsure futures at Outdated Trafford, can United saddle themselves with the problem of getting to interchange as much as 4 attackers this summer season?
The ahead line is not at all the one space of the group that wants addressing and there’s additionally the small matter of appointing a brand new supervisor.
It was clear that United’s points run deeper than Ronaldo as they threw away the lead for the third straight sport in opposition to a really spectacular Southampton.
United threw away the lead for the third straight sport when Che Adams netted for the Saints
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s facet adopted up their win over Tottenham and draw in opposition to Manchester Metropolis with a totally deserved level after Che Adams cancelled out Jadon Sancho’s opener.
Hasenhuttl, a disciple of Rangnick’s gegenpressing, questioned United’s capability to execute such an intensive sport plan.
‘To start with, when they’re contemporary, it really works,’ he mentioned. ‘The issue they’ve is that they aren’t used to doing it for 90 minutes.’
Paul Scholes insists United have to work more durable and graft extra to earn the correct outcomes
TV pundits like Paul Scholes, Jermaine Jenas and Danny Murphy imagine it comes right down to easy work ethic.
Rangnick is the person who should get extra out of this group and discover a option to flip attracts into wins amid fears that United’s top-four hopes are fading.
‘It has at all times been a priority since Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer) left the membership,’ mentioned Rangnick.
‘That was one of many the reason why he most likely needed to go away and, in fact, outcomes like this don’t make issues any simpler.’