Sir Alex Ferguson's Cristiano Ronaldo reluctance remains huge problem for Man Utd

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Ever since Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to Old Trafford, questions have been raised as to why he wasn’t awarded club captaincy of Manchester United. But for all his individual accolades and experience, there is a key reason why the Portuguese international was not given the armband – the knock-on effect.

Sir Alex Ferguson faced a similar situation to what Ralf Rangnick has been experiencing regarding the Red Devils’ captaincy. The Scotsman was asked by captain Gary Neville to give the armband to someone else, feeling that he wasn’t good enough to be a leader of such a talented squad.

Neville recalled the conversation he had with Sir Alex, telling Sky Sports: “It felt as though I wasn’t contributing like a captain should be for my last four years. I actually went to see Sir Alex in pre-season about the third year I was captain.

“We had an amazing team: Ronaldo, Rooney, [Carlos] Tevez, [Ryan] Giggs, [Paul] Scholes, [Michael] Carrick, [Rio] Ferdinand, [Nemanja] Vidic, [Patrice] Evra, [Edwin] van der Sar… there were some great personalities and players in that group. I went over to Sir Alex walking onto the training pitch and said, ‘I don’t feel worthy of keeping the captaincy anymore. This team is to a level I can’t compete at’.

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“He said, ‘You’ll keep that f-ing armband, son.’ The reason he gave me: ‘You and Giggs will rotate it. If I give it to Ronaldo, Rooney will kick off. If I give it to Rooney, Ronaldo will kick off. If I give it to Vidic, Ferdinand won’t be happy’.

“So literally I think me and Giggsy kept it for three or four years beyond that just purely because of the fact the camaraderie in the dressing room. We were the policemen if you like, the older statesmen. Sir Alex wanted to make sure the team came first. Even though I felt unworthy as a captain at that stage.” The uproar in a changing of the guard in the dressing room could be the exact reason that Rangnick hasn’t stripped Maguire of captaincy, especially given the reports of toxicity behind the scenes already.

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Maguire being relieved of his duties would certainly not do the former Leicester City centre-back any good as he looks to re-discover the form that saw him attract an £80million price tag several years ago. There are also several other players who could feel that they deserve the chance to lead the side, with David de Gea, Bruno Fernandes and Raphael Varane all examples of players with captain-like attributes.

Ronaldo only has one year left of his contract and there has been no clear indication as to whether the forward will extend his stay at United under a new manager. Therefore, making him captain could simply cause unnecessary drama behind the scenes, especially for a club already on the back foot and needs to be fully focused if they are to have a glimmer of a chance of finishing in the top four.



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