Will Cristiano Ronaldo hit the ground running at Manchester United? That was a silly question, wasn’t it?
The 36-year-old ridiculed any skeptics as he marked his second debut for the Red Devils the only way he knows how: with goals. Two of them, in fact.
Ronaldo has made a career of breaking records, his most recent being playing for Portugal when he became the top scorer in international football.
And now he can add another to his CV after being selected to start against Newcastle by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
His return to Old Trafford sees Ronaldo setting a new record for the longest gap between appearances in Premier League history at 12 years and 118 days.
Ronaldo’s last appearance in England’s top flight came in May 2009, against Arsenal, before sealing an £ 80million transfer to Real Madrid where he became the world superstar he is today.
He left there in 2018 for Juventus and, in the recent transfer window, completed his successful return to Old Trafford.
The United star scored 118 goals in his first stint for the club, although his last Premier League goal came 12 years and 124 days ago, against Manchester City in May 2009.
After closing his comeback with a nice brace – you would have been crazy to bet against him – only one player has ever had a longer Premier League goal gap – Matt Jackson (13 years old and 187 days old between May 1993 and November 2006).
Ronaldo has also scored 48 hat tricks in all competitions of his club career and the first of them came against Newcastle, in a Premier League game in January 2008.
It was so close to a remarkable feat to score another trio of goals against the Magpies, but he will have to settle for both.
United are a different side to the ones they left all those years ago, but their return, along with the arrivals of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, will raise expectations of winning trophies, with the title at the top of the list. .
Ronaldo has made it clear he is coming back to Old Trafford to win trophies and said after his brilliant comeback against Newcastle: “I’m here to win games and to help the team. I was very nervous but maybe it just didn’t show. The reception was incredible.
“This club is amazing. I feel so proud and I’ll give it my all to make it [the fans] proud of me.
“Football in England is different from any part of the world. I’ve played everywhere but to be honest England is the most special.
“I belong to Manchester. I arrived here when I was 18 and they treated me unbelievably. That’s why I came back. I am so proud to be here and I want to win.
“We have a fantastic team, a young team, with a fantastic coach. But we have to develop confidence and the team has to be mature if we are to win the League and the Champions League.
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