Manchester United players think Cristiano Ronaldo is set to replace Harry Maguire as the club’s captain, reports have stated. The Red Devils’ current skipper has endured a frustrating campaign so far, with the England international toiling on the field amid a wretched season at Old Trafford. And Ronaldo would likely have the backing of Sir Alex Ferguson if he does indeed end up taking the armband.
Maguire was made captain by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer upon joining from Leicester back in the summer transfer window of 2019.
However, while the England international is respected among team-mates, he’s been unable to lead the club to silverware during his time at the club.
According to The Mirror, some United players are now expecting Ronaldo to replace the 28-year-old in the role.
It’s stated the pair are both involved in a ‘power struggle’ behind the scenes, with Ralf Rangnick having talks with the duo about the Maguire relinquishing the captaincy until the end of the season.
That would take the pressure off him as he looks to regain the form that made him the world’s most-expensive defender three years ago.
Yet Maguire is reluctant to do that because he fears he’d lose the armband permanently.
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Rangnick wants Ronaldo to mentor young players in the squad, which is another thing to have caused ‘friction’ at Old Trafford.
Maguire is said to feel ‘undermined’ by the 37-year-old’s huge influence but there’s a sense a changing of the guard is ‘inevitable’ among the rest of the squad, too.
Yet Ronaldo would likely have the backing of Ferguson if he does end up taking on the honour.
During his first spell at the club, the Portugal international was made skipper on just one occasion – a 2-0 win over Bolton.
He scored both goals for his team that day, propelling them closer to a third Premier League title in a row in the process.
And Ferguson, speaking after the game, hailed the job he did that day while also saying he thought Ronaldo was ‘comfortable’ as captain.
“We have great confidence in the lad and he has come through it very well and that was important.”
Given Ferguson never thought the captaincy was a ‘big deal’, that explains why Ronaldo wasn’t promoted during his initial time in England.
And it’ll now be interesting to see how this latest saga plays out.
United legend Gary Neville, meanwhile, revealed in 2020 that he himself asked to give up the captaincy in 2006.
Ronaldo would have been a contender to replace the right-back at the time yet Ferguson, in the end, was adamant that wouldn’t be happening.
“I got injured a year after taking the captaincy and that became really difficult for me,” Neville told Sky Sports, while looking back on his time at United.
“It felt as though I wasn’t contributing like a captain should be for my last four years. I actually went to see Sir Alex in pre-season about the third year I was captain.
“We had an amazing team: Ronaldo, [Wayne] Rooney, [Carlos] Tevez, [Ryan] Giggs, [Paul] Scholes, [Michael] Carrick, [Rio] Ferdinand, [Nemanja] Vidic, [Patrice] Evra, [Edwin] van der Sar… there were some great personalities and players in that group.
“I went over to Sir Alex walking onto the training pitch and said, ‘I don’t feel worthy of keeping the captaincy anymore. This team is to a level I can’t compete at’.
“He said, ‘You’ll keep that f***ing armband, son.’ The reason he gave me: ‘You and Giggs will rotate it. If I give it to Ronaldo, Rooney will kick off. If I give it to Rooney, Ronaldo will kick off. If I give it to Vidic, Ferdinand won’t be happy’.
“So literally I think me and Giggsy kept it for three or four years beyond that just purely because of the fact the camaraderie in the dressing room. We were the policemen if you like, the older statesmen.
“Sir Alex wanted to make sure the team came first. Even though I felt unworthy as a captain at that stage.”
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