Premier League English

Erik Ten Hag’s bold claim about Cristiano Ronaldo won’t resonate well with the superstar

It’s looking more and more likely that Ajax’s Erik Ten Hag could well be working with Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United for the following season although it is questionable that previous negative comments made by the straight-shooting Dutchman in earlier seasons would have gone down well at all with the Portuguese forward.

Although currently still in charge at Amsterdam, the Dutchman has been most recently earmarked as the leading favorite candidate to occupy the manager’s role at Old Trafford with the latest reports claiming that United has accelerated their discussions to expedite negotiations regarding Ten Hag’s compensation package.

Ten Hag moving to Manchester United will see the Dutch strategist teaming up with Ronaldo, with the latter having endured a mixed time so far this campaign, copping a load of heavy criticism despite his creditable goal output. The Ajax manager has had opportunities in the recent past to pit his then team against Ronaldo who was then with Juventus. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was hoping to augment his Champions League dominance and came up against Ajax in the last eight in 2019. The Portuguese striker and his Juventus side were stunned by Ten Hag’s squad that had also shocked Real Madrid prior to that.

Ajax had drawn the first-leg 1-1 where had Ronaldo scored. The Portuguese goalscoring dynamo again found the net in the return leg in Turin, but the Amsterdam aces just couldn’t be stopped and progressed 3-2 on aggregate. In the aftermath of the game Ten Hag made a blunt statement that Ronaldo and his side had been “scared” of their opponents.

The Ajax head coach candidly told reporters:

“I think it was an incredible night for Ajax, the players and all of Dutch football. We have again knocked out one of the Champions League favorites, as with our philosophy, we can go beyond our limitations and we’ve done it again. You could see that Juve were a little scared of us and so were Real Madrid. It is very difficult to play against our style of football.”

On that auspicious night that Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus were beaten by Ajax in Italy, it was none other than Donny Van De Beek who clinched Ajax’s equalizer just before half-time. Subsequently the winner was bagged by Matthijs de Ligt, who is currently with Juventus. There was nothing Ronaldo could do to grapple back the game for Juventus as this was the period that coincided with the beginning of his less spectacular performance in Europe.

Failing to make it past the last eight in Europe with the Italian juggernauts, the 37-year-old and the Old Lady lost to Ajax, Lyon and Porto in successive years. And now United are currently caught in the throes of an intense battle, facing a steep, uphill fight just to qualify for next season’s Champions League due largely to their inconsistent form – even with the ever-tenacious Ronaldo in the fray of battle.