Defender Phil Jones has overlooked naming Cristiano Ronaldo in his all-time best five-a-side Manchester United team featuring past and present players.
Jones has spent over a decade with the Red Devils since joining them from Blackburn in 2011, making 169 appearances for the club. However, his time at the club has been incredibly stop-start, with injuries meaning that he has made featured in the Premier League just six times in the last three years.
The centre-back has played with some all-time United legends since arriving at Old Trafford, and many would expect five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo to rank highly amongst those. But that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Jones was asked on a club website segment who would make his five-a-side team. The England international opted for Edwin van der Sar in goal, before naming an almighty two-man defence of Steve Bruce and Nemanja Vidic.
Paul Scholes was then selected as Jones’ midfielder, with Derby County manager Wayne Rooney playing upfront. Of course, it would certainly have been tough for Jones to fit all of the Red Devils’ best into one squad – but Ronaldo’s absence from the team was noticeable.
The Portugal captain was not with Jones at United when he first confirmed himself as one of the best players in the world. But it is not as if the 37-year-old hasn’t impressed since returning to the Theatre of Dreams.
Ronaldo scored 18 goals and assisted three last season in 30 Premier League appearances. He was key in the club finishing in the Europa League places, despite many picking holes in his performances and questioning if his return was the reason for United’s underwhelming campaign.
But the former Real Madrid star looks set to remain at the club under new manager Erik ten Hag. And former United star Gary Pallister has told Lord Ping that he thinks Ronaldo must remain a key player next season: “I thought his best form was certainly towards the end of the season. I thought his general play was much better than the early part of the season. I thought he realised he was going to have to work a bit harder. He was prepared to help his teammates out and do what was necessary and he still scored the goals.
“There’s no surprise Ten Hag wants him there, Cristiano wants to be there, I think it’s a good thing for the players around the club. Players of that ilk, as long as they’re not a bad influence, as long as they’re helping the young players come through. Who else is better to listen to than Ronaldo?”