- 31 January
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Lautaro fails Man Utd audition at World Cup
Ronaldo saw his Man Utd contract rescinded last month in the aftermath of his infamous Piers Morgan interview, during which he was heavily critical of key figures at the club such as the owners and manager Erik ten Hag.
Man Utd are expected to sign a new number nine in January, if not certainly at the end of the season in order to replace Ronaldo.
Inter attacker Lautaro has been heavily linked to United for a number of years now and these links have grown even stronger since Ronaldo’s departure.
United will have been watching Lautaro closely at the World Cup in Qatar but they will be in no rush to make a bid for the attacker.
The 25-year-old has been one of the flops of the tournament so far with four dreadful displays for Argentina.
He played the entire 90 minutes of the firs group game against Saudi Arabia during which Argentina suffered one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history.
They lost 2-1 in a game where Lautaro had two goals disallowed for offside but otherwise barely made any impact at all.
Lautaro was also a shadow in the second game versus Mexico. He never got into the match and was substituted on 63 minutes for Julian Alvarez with the scores at 0-0. A minute after coming off, Lionel Messi broke the deadlock and Argentina dominated thereafter to win 2-0.
Lautaro dropped by Argentina
This led to Lautaro being dropped against Poland. Argentina played fantastically and booked their place in the last-16 with a 2-0 win. Lautaro’s replacement Alvarez scored Argentina’s second. Lautaro came on as a sub for the final 11 minutes and missed a one-on-one, plus other chances.
Lautaro was also a substitute in the 2-1 victory over Australia in the last-16 on Saturday. Again, his replacement Alvarez found the net.
And again, Lautaro came on as a sub and missed some huge opportunities to finish the game. One miss in particular was embarrassing for the attacker.
He was almost made to pay as Australia missed a sitter deep in injury time to force extra time.
Lautaro’s confidence is now at an all-time low, and he looked extremely frustrated as he left the pitch at full-time.
He has no goals, no assists and has offered nothing positive as Argentina aim to win their first World Cup in 36 years.
Lautaro defended by Messi
Messi, who set up many of Lautaro’s missed chances, attempted to defend the criticism of his teammate after the game.
“Lautaro is a very important player for us, he is a striker who lives by scoring goals,” Messi told TYC Sports.
“Now it is fundamental that he is well in view of the quarter-final and what still has to happen in this World Cup.”
Lautaro will be hoping that he can start performing and scoring from the quarter-finals onwards, with Netherlands next up.
As for Man Utd, they will likely be looking elsewhere for now when it comes to a Ronaldo replacement.