Is Ronaldo pressing enough? Does it matter?
Earlier in the week, it was reported by The Athletic that no Premier League forward, who has played at least 270 minutes this season, has “applied pressure” less frequently than Cristiano Ronaldo.
In the days that followed, many questioned whether he would have to increase these numbers, or if this was a problem for Manchester United.
📊 No Premier League forward playing at least 270 minutes has applied pressure less frequently to an opposing player who is receiving, carrying or releasing the ball than Cristiano Ronaldo, who has done it 2.7 times per 90 minutes on an average so far. [@TheAthleticUK] pic.twitter.com/lY68zKPZ8L
— UtdDistrict (@UtdDistrict) October 1, 2021
Cristiano Ronaldo’s lack of pressing
There are many valid issues people might have with Ronaldo’s return to United. Could it stifle Mason Greenwood’s progression? Could his superstardom undermine the manager’s authority? Will he fit into a United attack that was thriving last season?
But it seems as though these pressing statistics are being blown out of proportion. Ronaldo is now 36, and you could argue that he knows his body better than any footballer in history. He has changed his game to suit his body, and it works.
He was the top scorer in Italy last season doing a similar amount of running, and he was the top scorer in Euro 2020 too, all while sniffing around the box.
Jurgen Klopp once argued that pressing was the best form of playmaking that a team can do, and while he has proven himself correct throughout his career, Ronaldo is an outlier. He has always and will always be different.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 30, 2021
Cristiano Ronaldo pressing stats
So should United fans be worried about Ronaldo’s supposed lack of running? I suppose it depends on what you want from your striker.
Perhaps the more important statistic that people should be looking at is the number of goals the Portuguese forward has scored since coming back to the Manchester club.
He got two on his debut against Newcastle, another against Young Boys, one against West Ham and a last-minute winner against Villarreal during the week.
He’s not going to be closing down the full-backs the way Edinson Cavani did excellently when he came on on Wednesday night, but no matter what he’s doing, or how he’s playing, he is always the most likely to score on the pitch. And no pressing stats are going to change that.