Former Manchester United forward Dimitar Berbatov worries Edinson Cavani may be put out by Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer back to Old Trafford, especially as he took his number seven
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in the midst of his hardest season to date.
Sure, he has the best players to work with of his Manchester United tenure.
But he’s expected to manage big personalities this season and, more importantly, win silverware.
Every man and his dog has assessed United’s chances of winning something this season and the potential problems Solskjaer may be faced with along the way.
And former Red Devils striker Dimitar Berbatov fears one immediate issue is Solskjaer’s ability to manage minutes.
Last season, Edinson Cavani was considered United’s standout striker and he was gifted the time to light up the Premier League.
Manchester United via Getty Imag)
In this campaign, he has to compete with Cristiano Ronaldo for game time, and Berbatov fears the transfer may have upset him.
Berbatov told Betfair: “Two games, three goals for Cristiano Ronaldo back in a red shirt. I’m not surprised by the immediate impact he has made at United and he will only get better as the season goes on.
“You cannot argue with his goalscoring and the aura that he brings to the team. The fans gave him a great welcome back last Saturday and he repaid them with two well-taken goals.
“It will be interesting to see how Ole keeps the other players happy. He will have to decide how he uses the likes of Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial. This is when managing a talented squad becomes difficult because players will feel hard done by.
“Cavani is probably unhappy. He had a great first season at United and how he’s dropped down the pecking order and lost his number seven shirt.
“I hope Ole has had an honest conversation with Cavani about his plans for the team. As a player in this situation, you understand that the manager’s job is to pick the best team, but you always want to play and become unhappy when you’re left out.”
Berbatov makes a strong point, but one potential oversight is the fact that Cavani is no stranger to this sort of situation.
The Uruguay international was at Paris Saint-Germain when the big personalities of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe burst onto the scene and he managed just fine.
He even spoke out about his relationship with the Brazilian, with who he clashed on occasion.
Cavani told ESPN, as per Sport, back in 2020: “We are very different, we didn’t share many things and we think in different ways.
“That doesn’t stop you from getting along. In the group, we didn’t all have to be friends or brothers. The important thing is to be friends on the pitch, protect each other, run for the other.”
In regards to the other players potentially “unhappy” by Ronaldo’s arrival, Solskjaer has already outlined his thoughts on competition for places and the impact he thinks the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will have on United.
On the former, Solskjaer told the press: “I think we have competition for places, which means you cannot go around and think that you can just fake your way to being part of this team because you only deserve to be in a team that you contributed to.
“I think everyone’s just realised that we’re privileged to be part of Man United, such a fantastic club with a fantastic history. When you’re here, enjoy it as much as you can and maybe you’ll experience some fantastic times.”
While on the latter, he said: “You run out of words to describe Cristiano.
“He is not only a marvellous player but also a great human being. To have the desire and the ability to play at the top level for such a long period requires a very special person.
“I have no doubt that he will continue to impress us all and his experience will be so vital for the younger players in the squad. Ronaldo’s return demonstrates the unique appeal of this club and I am absolutely delighted he is coming home to where it all started.”