Premier League seeks forwards of the future and sees Cristiano Ronaldo as a symbol of the past

Darwin Núñez and Haaland move expectations about how they can influence their teams in different ways.

The goal is the great moment of football and also usually occupies a leading role in debates related to the game. Attackers, therefore, receive special attention. The 2022/23 edition of the Premier League, which has already started, puts this issue in the spotlight, as it clearly shows an apparent passing of the baton between what is expected of the future with what some already consider the past. .

Cristiano Ronaldo, who wants to leave Manchester United but – amazing! – doesn’t see Champions League giants so interested in their services, would be, at 37, this symbol of the past. A proof that time hits everyone, even those who train with absolute and obsessive hard and use NASA machines to help with physical recovery. In contrast to CR7 in this debate about attackers, are the two main signings made respectively by Liverpool and Manchester City, the dominant teams in England in recent years. Darwin Núñez (23 years old) and Erling Haaland (22 years old).

Núñez and Haaland have different characteristics. Liverpool’s Uruguayan is the perfect symbol of what some classify as a modern striker: he scores without the ball and, when his team has possession, attacks spaces and, of course, knows how to score goals and create chances for his teammates. Haaland, on the other hand, has the profile of a manual striker (tall, strong, a striker but a scorer) but knows he needs to make his defensive contribution. It’s like an updated version of a classic model.

It is in the defensive contribution, more precisely in the lack of it, that the criticism of Cristiano Ronaldo is concentrated. The Portuguese is one of the least participative strikers when his team doesn’t have the ball. One of the all-time greats, CR7 is still a goalscoring machine… but in recent years having been apparently the only focal point in his teams’ attack ended up weakening the teams the number 7 played for.

Cristiano scored 18 goals for Manchester United in the last Premier League season, but the team had their worst attack in the last four years: they scored 57 goals compared to 73, 66, 65 and 68 in previous years.

What CR7 contributes by scoring goals he has taken away from the cohesion of his teams as a unit. Inside the CR7 FC, the impression is that the collective has to adapt to the great individual star. Not the other way around. But the last champions of the Premier League and even the Champions show that the path to success has been another: the coexistence of the most different individualities within a working whole has given more results.

Manchester United have failed badly to assemble cohesive teams, it is important to note, but the latest attempts – including the most recent with Erik Ten Hag – have focused on a style of play, more in the style of Klopp’s Liverpool, which has proved incompatible with Cristiano Ronaldo’s style.

We still don’t know what will happen to the veteran Portuguese star. Do you stay at Old Trafford or leave United? Anyway, the Premier League 2022/23 starts with the debate on the figure of the individualist goalscorer, who makes the attack of his team seem more obvious, in contrast to the young people who are appearing with great prominence. Which argument will prevail? The answer will be given over the next few months.

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About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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