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Ralf Rangnick says Cristiano Ronaldo can be a vital part of Erik ten Hag’s side

Manchester United’s interim boss Ralf Rangnick has backed Cristiano Ronaldo to be a key figure under new manager Erik ten Hag next season.

Ten Hag will take charge as the head coach at the end of the campaign. The Dutchman is expected to play an important role in the squad rebuild over the summer.

A couple of strikers could be pursued in the transfer market, but Rangnick believes Ronaldo can still be a ‘vital part’ of the team, based on his recent performances.

He told Sky Sports: “This is a question you need to ask Erik ten Hag. He’s showed that he can still be a vital part of this team, but it’s obvious the team needs some more strikers. There should be two or three new strikers next season, it’s pretty obvious.”

Our view:

Ronaldo is no longer in the prime of his career, but he has still had a tremendous homecoming season with United, bagging 23 goals across all competitions.

He is just three goals shy of the 20-goal mark for the league campaign. Robin van Persie was the last United player to achieve the feat during the 2012/13 season.

The 37-year-old has certainly had a big impact on the proceedings. He has been hugely influential lately with hat-tricks against Norwich and Tottenham while bagging a vital equaliser versus Chelsea.

Despite his efforts, United are set to miss out on Champions League football, and this could influence his future. There has been talk of Real Madrid re-signing him.

The £31.5 million-rated star may want assurances of a starting berth next term under Ten Hag. It remains to be seen whether that happens if a marquee striker arrives.

Ronaldo’s future will be a big talking point this summer. It won’t be a surprise if he heads for the exit door to play for another Champions League-based outfit next season.

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