Juventus star Matthjis de Ligt has sent a warning shot across the bow of Manchester United given the growing uncertainty surrounding the future of star forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
When speaking with Football Italia (cited by The Mirror), the Dutch international lifted the lid on the initial struggles that Juventus endured when Ronaldo embarked on his second stint at United; "We lost Cristiano Ronaldo late in the summer and of course, we lost 30 goals with that. Because it was so late, we couldn't get someone like Dusan Vlahovic back right away. We certainly missed that in the beginning."
But for De Ligt, the replacement for the mercurial Portuguese icon - Dušan Vlahović - is more than capable of filling the void that was left at the Allianz stadium; "When I played against him [Vlahovic], I already noticed how strong and technically good he was. And what particularly appealed to me is that he is so driven to score a goal; he almost scolded teammates when he didn't get the ball. You need an attacker like that upfront."
Uncertain future for Ronaldo at Man United
Recent reports suggest that Cristiano Ronaldo could be on his way out of Manchester United depending on the direction the Red Devils take with their next appointment in the wake of the potentially temporary Ralf Rangnick regime at Old Trafford.
The Portuguese star himself commented on the situation when speaking with DAZN recently, hinting that he may have to leave to find 'more' in order to continue to leave his mark on the annals of football history before he calls time on his career.
"It's hard to say that I don't want more, because if I'm at a club that gives me the opportunity to win more things, why not? And in the national team too. I know I don't have many years left playing, four or five more, we'll see, and I want to win more things. You have to be intelligent and know that at 18, 20, or 25 you are not the same as at 35. And that is the maturity, the experience, the intelligence to understand that maybe you lose some things to win others and have the right balance to continue competing and be at the highest level."
Though Ronaldo is the club leading goalscorer across all competitions this season, United are far off the pace of their domestic rivals in the hunt for Premier League honors, and also look to be unable to challenge for silverware on the continent. For a player of his pedigree and commitment to success, this surely is not enough.