Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has claimed that Manchester United are a better team without Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford amid huge fanfare at the end of the summer transfer, joining from Juventus 12 years after seeing his first spell at the club come to an end.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has since scored nine goals in 12 appearances across all competitions, but Man United as a team have struggled so far this season.
A 2-0 defeat to local rivals Manchester City on Saturday saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side succumb to their sixth defeat in their last 12 games across all competitions, and Merson believes that Ronaldo’s return has harmed the 20-time champions.
“I personally think Man Utd are a better football team without Cristiano Ronaldo,” Merson told Sky Sports News.
“They had a good unbeaten run last year by playing a certain way – counter-attacking football. You don’t get that with Ronaldo. That’s gone now. They don’t have that pace anymore.
“What’s the point in having a 20-goal a season striker if you don’t win anything? It’s like Harry Kane at Spurs. Having a striker scoring that many goals doesn’t guarantee you a top-four spot.”
The Red Devils currently sit sixth in the Premier League table, nine points adrift of leaders Chelsea.