Cristiano Ronaldo is the “greatest football player that has ever lived” but will not turned Manchester United into Premier League champions this season, according to Gary Neville.
Star forward Ronaldo stole the show on Saturday as Manchester United ran out 4-1 winners against Newcastle, and he scored twice in his first game back at Old Trafford after signing from Juventus on transfer deadline day.
Ex-United defender Neville believes the 36-year-old former team-mate ranks above Lionel Messi as the finest player in the history of the sport6 due to him being a more complete player.
But, given Ronaldo’s advancing years and the strength of rivals Man City and Chelsea, Neville can’t see us lifting the title this season.
On Monday Night Football, Neville said: “He does make the team better. I think he makes them more likely to win the title than I thought three weeks ago.
“Something inside me tells me that I don’t think he will quite make them the team that will win the title this season. And it’s Chelsea and it’s City, just in terms of team.
“The introduction of Ronaldo at 36 as a penalty-box striker, which is what he is, I don’t think will make them a complete enough team to win the title.
“If Cristiano Ronaldo was seven or eight years younger and was still at that level that he was at Real Madrid, I believe he’d be able to take them to the title or to the Champions League.
“He is a very, very special individual and an unbelievable star.
“I do think he is the greatest football player that has ever lived. That is not bias, that is just me looking at who I would want to trust to win me a football match in the most different ways, who is the most complete player.”
Ronaldo vs Messi debate in full on MNF via Sky Sports
Ronaldo marked his return after 12-years – since he left the club – and Newcastle weren’t able to handle him. The same could be said tonight if he starts against Young Boys.
When asked by fellow pundit Jamie Carragher why the game’s purported greatest player would not make United champions, Neville replied: “We’re talking about two different things: the greatest player of all time – a player who’s had an 18-year career – versus how he now is at 36.
“They are two completely separate things.
“I can say I don’t think Manchester United will win the title. However, I caveat that by if that atmosphere and that spirit that I witnessed on Saturday, if that momentum builds, he could do something spectacular.
“I don’t think it will happen because I think Chelsea or Manchester City have better teams at the moment than Manchester United.”