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How Manchester United could line up with Cristiano Ronaldo this season

Cristiano Ronaldo has made a sensational return to Manchester United.
Cristiano Ronaldo has made a sensational return to Manchester United.
Bhargav
ANALYST

In a dramatic day of events on Friday, Cristiano Ronaldo made a sensational return to Manchester United even as Manchester City appeared to be the more likely team to land him.

However, Pep Guardiola's team dropping out of the race paved the way for Manchester United to table an offer for Ronaldo, which was accepted by Juventus hours later.

Earlier this summer, United brought in winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid centre-half Raphael Varane to address their requirements of a right winger and a reliable central defensive partner for captain Harry Maguire.

Ronaldo's arrival is the icing on the cake for a club that didn't have a consistent goalscorer up front last season as Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial struggled. United now seem to have all bases covered as they plot to compete on multiple fronts this season.

On that note, here's a look at how Manchester United could line up Cristiano Ronaldo this season:


Goalkeeper - Dean Henderson

Dean Henderson has replaced David de Gea as the first-choice goalkeeper at Manchester United.
Dean Henderson has replaced David de Gea as the first-choice goalkeeper at Manchester United.

Dean Henderson appeared to have replaced David de Gea as the first-choice goalkeeper at Manchester United towards the end of last season.

The 24-year-old has had a good start to life at Old Trafford, especially after returning from a fabulous 2019-20 campaign with Sheffield United on loan. Henderson has kept an impressive 13 clean sheets in 26 games in all competitions for United, and looks set to play a key role for the club in 2021-22.

Although De Gea started both league games of the new campaign, he is expected to make way for Henderson, who tested positive for COVID-19, when the latter returns. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently said of Henderson:

“Dean, he was positive early on and then he’s negative in his testing but he’s not felt as energised or sharp as he has done. So he’s still fatigued and feeling the after effects. So, you never know, you’ve seen so many effects of this virus, so he’s got a few days still to rest and then we’ll check up on him.”.

Left-back - Luke Shaw

Luke Shaw has become a key player for club and country.
Luke Shaw has become a key player for club and country.

The emergence of Luke Shaw as a world-class full-back has been one of the feel-good Manchester United stories of recent times.

Despite the arrival of Alex Telles last summer, Shaw elevated his game and became the club's undisputed first-choice left-back. Producing a career-best season, the 26-year-old played nearly 50 games in all competitions, scoring once and providing five assists.

Shaw has also shone in international football, scoring his first goal for England in the Euro 2020 final against Italy, which the Three Lions lost in a penalty shootout.

Though the left-back doesn't tally as many goal contributions as Andy Robertson does for Liverpool, Shaw is a key cog in the Manchester United attack, creating an offensive overload thanks to his tireless runs down the left flank.


Centre-back - Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire has been a key player for Manchester United.
Harry Maguire has been a key player for Manchester United.

Eyebrows were raised when Manchester United splurged €87 million in the summer of 2019 to make Harry Maguire the most expensive defender in the world.

However, the Englishman proved his naysayers wrong by becoming a key player in the heart of the Manchester United defense. He did not miss a single minute in more than 70 consecutive league games for the club, with his consistent performances helping him become the United captain.

Maguire, who has made more than 100 appearances in just two seasons at the club, makes up for his lack of pace with his remarkable positional awareness and aerial ability at both ends. He will be a key man in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's quest to bring a first league title to Old Trafford in nearly a decade.


Centre-back - Raphael Varane

Raphael Varane is a key player for club and country.
Raphael Varane is a key player for club and country.

Making one of their best defensive signings in recent years, Manchester United managed to prise away Real Madrid defensive mainstay Raphael Varane from the Santiago Bernabeu this summer.

Regarded as one of the best centre-backs in the game at the moment, the 28-year-old Frenchman has been a solid performer for club and country, winning big titles galore. Varane, who won the 2018 FIFA World Cup for France, won three La Liga and four Champions League titles during his near decade-long stay in Madrid.

Renowned for his strength, pace and ball-playing prowess, Varane looks like the perfect player to complement his captain Maguire if he acclimatizes early to the pace of the Premier League.


Right-back - Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Aaron Wan-Bissaka has become a key player for Manchester United
Aaron Wan-Bissaka has become a key player for Manchester United

Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been a key player for Manchester United since his debut for the club two seasons ago.

Although the 23-year-old is not yet a finished product, he has made over 100 appearances in just two seasons at the club, scoring twice and providing ten assists.

Calling Wan-Bissaka the 'best defensive full-back in the world', manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently said about the player:

“I think Aaron is one of the best one-against-one defensive full-backs in the world. I think he’s getting better and better on the ball; he doesn’t give the ball away a lot. Last season was a learning one for him. Aaron has the time ahead of him, and we’ll give him time. In a year or two you’ll see a top, top full-back there.”
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Edited by Ashwin

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