This season so far? The 37-year-old has scored just once for the club as he continues to play an almost peripheral figure in Erik ten Hag’s new-look United team.
Following the 6-3 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City, the manager claimed he left Ronaldo on the bench “out of respect” and with his future uncertain amid a transfer request over the summer, the Old Trafford side badly need a goal scorer.
One of Sir Alex Ferguson’s finest ever United signings could certainly thrive under Ten Hag, and going back in time, would have been exactly what the club needs in the present day.
The Dutchman knew exactly where the goal was, his talents didn’t extend to that of Ronaldo’s but if the ball broke loose in the opposition penalty area, it was almost guaranteed that Van Nistelrooy would score.
The striker arrived at Old Trafford in the summer of 2001 for a British record fee of £19m, although injury had prevented him from joining the club a year earlier.
He soon made up for lost time, scoring an incredible 80 goals in his first two seasons, leading United to the Premier League title in 2002/03.
Defender and former teammate Rio Ferdinand claimed Van Nistelrooy was “the most devastating finisher I have ever played with” and his goal tally alone makes it hard to argue with him.
He couldn’t quite hit the same heights post-United, although winning two La Liga titles with Real Madrid proved, as Ronaldo did, that he could shine away from the Premier League.
Ten Hag would surely love his fellow countryman back leading his frontline and there is absolutely no doubt he could thrive in the top flight.
How many goals would he score? That is up for debate, but it would surely be more than the 24 Ronaldo scored last year and the measly one that he’s managed so far this term.
He would have been perfect for what United are trying to build now.