Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick rubbished reports that there is a rift between Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo over the club’s captaincy, insisting it is he who decides who will be skipper, and the England defender will remain in place.
Maguire took to Twitter on Friday to respond to a report by British newspaper Daily Mirror that he and veteran Portuguese forward Ronaldo are embroiled in a power struggle.
“I’ve seen a lot of reports about this club that aren’t true and this is another,” he said. “Not going to start posting about everything that is written but I needed to make this one clear. We’re united and focused on Sunday.”
His coach doubled down on the opinion that such reports are simply not true.
“This is absolutely nonsense,” Rangnick told a news conference on Friday ahead of his side’s clash with Leeds United in the Premier League. “I have never spoken to any player about a change in captaincy, Harry is aware of that and Cristiano too.
“It’s me who decides who is captain and I don’t have to talk to anyone else about that. Harry is our captain and he will stay our captain.
“There were players unhappy until the close of the (transfer) window because the squad was too big and players weren’t getting game time. The atmosphere in the dressing room is better now for that reason.
“It’s about performing well, togetherness on the pitch and winning games. They are the things we can influence.”
English forward Marcus Rashford also commented on reports this week that he was unhappy with Ronaldo trying to create his own “clique” at the club, questioning whether journalists are just “making things up” as they go along.
United travel to Leeds on Sunday for their first Premier League clash at their rival’s stadium, with fans present, since 2003, with Rangnick made aware of the animosity between the neighbouring sides.
“I didn’t know that until a week ago that this was one of biggest rivalries in the Premier League,” Rangnick added. “I had those local derbies in Germany, Schalke against Borussia Dortmund as one example.
“Our team has a lot of experience playing in that atmosphere and it may raise their performance. Last year at Leeds it was behind closed doors. Everybody prefers to play in a sold-out stadium and I’m looking forward to it.”
The German added that striker Edinson Cavani will remain out for the Leeds match due to “problems with his groin and his stomach”.