Does Cristiano Ronaldo Make Manchester United a Good Bet in 2021-22?
On Monday, Manchester United confirmed the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo in an official statement posted on social media. The GOAT candidate is making a comeback to the team where he spent six seasons, from 2003 to 2009.
During his first Manchester United spell, CR7 won the Premier League three times, as well as one Champions League trophy. He also won many individual accolades, including the first of his five Ballon d’Or awards.
Although he’s turning 37 next February, Ronaldo is showing no signs of slowing down. He’s coming off an impressive season in the Italian Serie A, where he scored 29 goals for Juventus, winning the Capocannoniere award (top-scorer) along the way.
Over the next two years, he’s supposed to play in the Premier League, where he’ll certainly try to do something similar. It seems that everyone believes in him, including the top soccer betting apps that have slashed Manchester United odds since his arrival.
Let’s check out Manchester United’s odds going into 2021-22, and gauge the impact the signing of Ronaldo may have on them for sports bettors.
Manchester United’s Odds for 2021-22 Season
We saw odds moving drastically in the past couple of days. Since it became clear Ronaldo was moving back to Manchester United, oddsmakers started slicing the prices.
The odds on the Red Devils winning the Premier League moved from 7.00 to around 5.00 in some US-based sportsbooks. Furthermore, major European bookmakers sliced the Man United odds for the 2021-22 Champions League from 11.00 to 9.00.
Anywhere Ronaldo goes, bettors are sure to follow. Judging by the movement, you at least have to consider betting on Manchester United in 2021-22, too.
The question, of course, is does the arrival of Ronaldo really change anything? Let’s look at Manchester United’s odds and assess whether or not signing their former star puts them over the top this season.
Can Manchester United Win the 2021-22 Premier League?
Manchester United is the most successful English soccer team, with a total of 20 titles won in the domestic league.
The first title win happened in 1908 when the English top-flight was called the Football League. Their most recent title win happened in the 2012-13 season of the Premier League, which was the last season with Sir Alex Ferguson as the manager.
It’s been a while since Manchester United won a major trophy.
The 2016-17 season was the most successful one in the post-Ferguson era when the Red Devils won the Europa League, as well as the EFL Cup and the Community Shield.
However, the same season, they ended up in sixth place in the Premier League. The closest they came to winning the league in the past eight years was in the 2020-21 season. That’s when they finished in second place, with 12 points fewer than their city rivals, Manchester City.
Practically all of their first-team players from the last season are still in Manchester, but the squad looks even stronger. It’s not just because of Ronaldo’s arrival; the Red Devils have two more big-money transfers in summer 2021, namely:
- Jadon Sancho – $100 million (from Borussia Dortmund)
- Raphael Varane – $58 million (from Real Madrid)
As a reminder, Ronaldo’s transfer didn’t cost Manchester United too much. Reports suggest that the Red Devils only had to pay about $20 million to Juventus.
That figure isn’t extreme compared to Ronaldo’s transfers in the past. For instance, his $110 million transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid broke the then-record for the highest fee in the history of soccer.
With such players on the roster, the Red Devils certainly look strong enough to challenge the title. Unfortunately for their fans, Manchester United wasn’t the only team to make awesome signings ahead of the 2021-22 season.
Exactly the same was the case with Manchester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool. All those teams are sitting higher in the list of top Premier League favorites than Ronaldo’s new team.
Can Manchester United Win the 2021-22 Champions League?
Not only does Manchester United look like one of the main candidates for the Premier League title, but this team also looks capable of winning the 2021-22 Champions League.
The Red Devils surely have the manpower to get past the group stage. And, they’re playing in a fairly easy group. They’ll be playing in Group F, together with Villarreal, Atalanta, and Young Boys.
The group looks very winnable, but there’s a big question mark over how the Red Devils are going to perform in the knockouts.
History teaches us when it comes to the knockout phase of the Champions League, it’s not just about how good your players are. It’s also about how clever your manager is.
Last season, we saw Thomas Tuchel turning underperforming Chelsea into the Champions League winners. The season earlier, Bayern Munich was led to the trophy by Hansi Flick, the current manager of the German national team.
The last time Manchester United won the Champions League, their manager was legendary Sir Alex Ferguson.
He does have plenty of talent to work with, but there’s also a lot of pressure on the Norwegian who started his Man United tenure as a caretaker manager in 2018.
Ronaldo’s arrival, however, might be exactly what Solskjaer needs. He will have an experienced player commanding the play on the pitch.
Ronaldo is a man Solskjaer trusts, the two go way back – they were teammates for fours years back in the early 2000s.
What Cristiano Ronaldo Brings to the Red Devils
Last season, Bruno Fernandes was Manchester United’s top scorer with 28 goals. Meanwhile, the same season, Cristiano Ronaldo scored eight more goals for Juventus.
In fact, he scored 28+ goals in each of the past 12 seasons, with his record being 61 goals in the 2014-15 season.
Everyone seems to believe he’s going to continue scoring plenty of goals, including oddsmakers. The odds on Ronaldo winning the Premier League top-scorer award are somewhere in the ballpark of 4.00. This makes him a joint betting favorite, together with Chelsea’s new striker Romelu Lukaku.
Knowing all this, it’s only logical to expect Manchester United’s scoring performance to improve in the upcoming months. Last season, they scored 73 goals in the Premier League. This season, I believe they can do even better.
However, putting away goals isn’t going to be Ronaldo’s only contribution. In fact, one of the main pros of signing such a superstar is that he’s going to have a huge impact on other players, especially youngsters.
His presence is bound to inspire players like Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho, who think of him as their role model.
Why Manchester United Could be a Bad Bet This Season
Last season, Cristiano Ronaldo scored more goals than any other player in the Italian Serie A. He scored 18 league goals more than Juve’s second-best scorer, Alvaro Morata.
No surprise there; after all, Ronaldo is one of the most lethal players in the history of the game.
Some fans blamed the coach; others blamed Ronaldo, claiming that he turned Juventus into a one-man army. Can something similar happen to Manchester United as well?
There is such fear, for sure. Ronaldo is famous for his ego, but so far, his behavior’s been justified by his performances. But what if his performances start dropping, is it going to ruin his team?
Should We Expect Ronaldo to Get Much Worse?
Three years ago, at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo achieved a speed of 21 mph. In the past, we saw him sprinting nearly 100 yards in only 10 seconds.
However, I’m afraid all of that might be the past. Although he’s still physically superior to many of his rivals, the fact is that he’s in his late thirties.
Ronaldo is now playing in the Premier League, one of the most intensive competitions on the planet. On top of that, the Premier League remains to be the only major soccer league that still only allows three substitutes (other leagues allow up to five per team).
Furthermore, Ronaldo’s style of play has changed significantly over the last couple of seasons.
Just a few seasons ago, we would see him playing on the side, either as an inside forward or a proper winger. It also wasn’t strange to see him bossing the midfield in the role of a playmaker.
However, last season, Ronaldo was mostly playing the role of the center-forward, whose main duty was scoring goals. We saw him improve his strength, as well as his abilities in the air.
We also saw him getting caught in offside traps frequently, which could be a sign of his decaying pace and acceleration.
Betting on Manchester United in 2021-22
Ronaldo will be over 40 when his contract with Manchester United expires. Time is ticking away for the Portuguese maestro, meaning his best shot to win trophies is the 2020-21 season.
Is he the last piece of the puzzle Manchester United needed to win the first Premier League in eight years? He might be, but the problem is that the league seems to have never been this tough.
Speaking of betting value, it’s drastically better when it comes to betting on Manchester United in the 2021-22 Champions League.
Still, in my opinion, neither of those bets are very good. However, there’s one that looks really tempting – Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Premier League top-scorer award.
To bet on EPL games in 2021, check out our soccer betting picks page.