Oh, what a Ron-derful day! Cristiano Ronaldo is back in Red and is back scoring goals. As United went on to complete a big 4-1 win at home to Newcastle.
It was Saturday morning, 2 weeks of waiting was over. I was up, singing Viva Ronaldo on repeat in the shower. Just like most of the other United fans around the world, I was excited. Cristiano Ronaldo was back home. 12 long years of witnessing him become the greatest footballer of all time, to now having him back at the age of 36 knowing he has still got it, a truly amazing feeling.
3 pm came and it was time for business. The atmosphere inside a packed Old Trafford was electric. Not only was it the return of Ronaldo, but it was the first time Raphael Varane was experiencing a packed stadium in Manchester. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer picked a side full of attacking talent with Sancho, Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, and Pogba all behind Ronaldo. Just a few years ago we United were playing Andreas Pereira, Dan James, and even Brandon Williams in our midfield. Incredible recruitment since Ole took over.
It was clear from the start that all Newcastle were going to do was have 11 men behind the ball and look to counter with Almiron and Saint-Maximin. United dominated with the ball and were camped in the opposition half but didn’t create anything to note. Ronaldo was trying his best to create a half-chance, and you could see he was desperate to get a goal on his return. Inevitably, before the end of the half, it came!
On the brink of half time Mason Greenwood cuts in from the right and hits his left-footed shot straight at Newcastle goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, however, with it taking a slight deflection on the way through, Woodman fumbled the shot straight into the path of the onrushing Ronaldo to tap in from 2 yards. The crowd went wild. He was officially back!
The start of the 2nd half was more of the same with United controlling the possession but struggling to break down the resilient Newcastle defence. But in the 56th minute, Old Trafford was stunned into silence, following a counter-attack featuring some sloppy defending, the ball fell at the feet of Javi Manquillo to fire past De Gea into the corner. 1-1.
You could sense the nerves in the atmosphere following the equaliser, was it going to be “one of those days” where United would struggle to break down teams who are parking the bus? Well thankfully, come the 62nd minute, it was that man Ronaldo again firing the reds into a 2-1 lead. Luke Shaw picked up the ball inside his own half and runs directly through the middle of the pitch, slides in an inch-perfect pass to Ronaldo who takes it in his stride with an exquisite first touch, before firing it through the legs of woodman with his left foot. He followed it up with his signature SIUUU celebration in front of the famous Stretford End. It almost took the roof off Old Trafford. Back with a brace, could he get a hat trick?
Ronaldo didn’t go on to get his hat trick, however, it was his Portuguese compatriot Bruno Fernandes who added the goal of the game and United’s 3rd with a screamer from 25 yards into the top corner. A sensational strike. Jesse Lingard added United’s fourth goal at the death following some delightful play being capped off by a sublime pass from Paul Pogba, who had another top-quality performance adding 2 assists, which fell to Lingard to turn excellently and curl his shot into the far corner.
A big win and some great momentum heading into the Champions League midweek v Young Boys in Bern, before another tough Premier League clash v West Ham on Saturday.
Oh, what a Ron-derful day! #United
To return home – click here
You can find highlights of Ronaldo’s return on the Sky Sports youtube channel by clicking here