Cristiano Ronaldo is, of course, always a hot topic of discussion.
But the Manchester United superstar seems to be the talk of the town even more than usual since it was confirmed Ralf Rangnick would be taking over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager on an interim basis until the end of the season.
The debate has largely centred on whether Ronaldo will suit a boss whose sides – which have included Schalke, Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig – are known for a high-press, high-intensity game.
It seems a logical and fair discussion point for a player with remarkable goalscoring prowess but now – at the age of 36 – in the twilight of a sensational career.
As if seeking to make a point, Ronaldo scored twice in Thursday’s 3-2 win over Arsenal – a match Rangnick watched from the stands – to surpass 800 career goals for club and country, but he also seemed extra determined to show he can suit Rangnick’s style of play.
Against the Gunners, Ronaldo made 27 pressures – his most in any league game this season. He was previously averaging 14.4 per 90 minutes.
Additionally, he made 16 pressures in the attacking third, more than five times as many as in his previous league start against Watford (3).
Whether it is the effect of Rangnick taking place already or a mere coincidence, the new man at the helm quelled any idea Ronaldo would be ostracized under his leadership.
“You always have to adapt your style or idea of football to the players you have available, not vice versa,” Rangnick said.
“Having seen Cristiano yesterday in the second half, at the age of 36 he is an amazing, top professional. At his age, I’ve never seen a player who is still that physically fit.
“He’s still a player who can easily make the difference.
“It’s about how we can develop the whole team. It’s not just about Cristiano. We play in the most competitive league in the world, so we need all the players on board.
“What I saw from Cristiano yesterday, he’s more than willing to do that, to put his input into the team. The other team-mates will have to do the same.”
Rangnick’s first assignment is Sunday’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.