SPORT / MISCELLANY
Ronaldo returns
Two goals for striker on second coming to Old Trafford
Published: Sep 16, 2021 12:53 PM
Cristiano Ronaldo (No.7) of Manchester United in action against Newcastle United on September 11 in Manchester, England. Photo: VCG

Cristiano Ronaldo (No.7) of Manchester United in action against Newcastle United on September 11 in Manchester, England. Photo: VCG



The second coming of Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford did not disappoint as the returning Manchester United striker scored twice on his first game for the club in nine years.

He scored the opener and the go-ahead goal in a 4-1 win over Newcastle United, much to the delight of the 74,000 or so inside the stadium and many millions watching around the world

"I didn't expect to score two goals," Ronaldo said after the game. "I expect one but not two. I have to appreciate the fans and what they did to me today. I feel so proud for that.

 "The most important thing was to win and to win games. Manchester needs to be where they deserve. It is to win, to build the team and build the club and the mentality.

"This is what we are looking for. Of course I am happy to score goals I am not going to deny that but the most important thing is the team and the team played good."

Ronaldo, who had admitted being "nervous" before kickoff, looked like he had never been away as the fans cheered him on in an atmosphere not seen at the ground for so long.

 "It is unbelievable. When I started the game I was so nervous, I swear. It is normally because I did not expect that they would sing my name all game. I was very nervous but maybe I didn't show but I was. The reception is incredible but I am here to win games and help the team.

"It was unbelievable moment. I was super-nervous and was thinking last night that I wanted to play good and show I was still capable of helping the team. This club is unbelievable and I am so proud. I am going to give everything to make them proud of me.

"Everyone knows the football in England is different than in any part of the world and to be honest it is the most special one. I arrived here at 18 and they treated my unbelievable and that is why I am back."

He is back alright and the fans - and those at the club - will hope there is more to come, starting with their next game in the English Premier League against West Ham United this weekend. That is the first step in a long season ahead, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer impressed with his new recruit.

"Everyone knows what Cristiano Ronaldo brought for the club and we are really happy to have him," Ronaldo's former teammate-turned manager told Sky Sports after the Newcastle win, specifically addressing the impact of Ronaldo's signing on the club's current talisman Bruno Fernandes.

"The most important, as he will say, is the result for the team. Good players can always play well together. Good players can always play together. They have a mutual respect and play for Portugal together," the Norwegian said after Fernandes - Ronaldo's international teammate ­- added the third.

"It's too early for me to predict where we'll end up. We have to be consistent and let's see where we are."

Ronaldo's first goals for the club in 12 years and 118 days - the second longest gap between English Premier League goals - helped secure three points and take United to the top of the table on goals scored.

Another former Manchester United player, Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce, was impressed with Ronaldo's performance.

"That is the goalscoring instinct of a center forward, where our defenders haven't followed it in and he is on the end to get a tap in and change the game," Bruce said. 

"If there is a genuine superstar among everyone, then this kid is with what he has achieved. We have witnessed it again."

The "kid" is 36 already but his sprint for the second goal was only beaten by teammate Aaron Wan-Bissaka last Saturday. Ronaldo's first goal showed all of the stiker's insincts he has developed in his years since leaving.

"There's more to it than that," Solskjær said of a first finish that some had dismissed as a an easy tap in after Newcastle goalkeeper Freddie Woodman failed to hold a shot from United teenager Mason Greenwood. "He's anticipating the rebound."

The praise has been fulsome from former United teammates.

"I think he's still one of the best players in the world," said Wayne Rooney, now Derby County manager.

"I think we've seen over the international break and the game with Ireland, that's what he does... last couple of minutes, scoring those two goals. They were two great headers."

Another former teammate, Rio Ferdinand, was also excited by Ronaldo's return.

"I don't think there has ever been a bigger signing in this country, in terms of the excitement it's generated and mileage across the media. It's been crazy, but that's what happens when you bring one of the greatest players ever to play the game back to English football. You are talking about the best of the best and he's right here, right now."

Hopefully there are more big moments to come for those at Old Trafford. Ronaldo added to that on Instagram.

"Along with all my teammates and with the amazing support that we always get from the stands, we face the road ahead with confidence and optimism that we'll all be celebrating together in the end," he wrote.

If Ronaldo's return is anything to go by there will be plenty of celebrations along the way. Ronaldo can have the last word, as he did on social media - "Let's go, Devils!"


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