EPL

'Old Trafford has always been a magical place' – Ronaldo revels in remarkable return

By Sports Desk September 11, 2021

Cristiano Ronaldo said "Old Trafford has always been a magical place" after he marked his second debut for Manchester United with a double.

Ronaldo, who last month completed a sensational return to the club he left for Real Madrid in 2009, was named in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's starting XI for Saturday's Premier League clash with Newcastle United.

Fresh from becoming the leading international goalscorer of all time, Ronaldo gave the eager Old Trafford crowd exactly what they wanted when he tucked in on the rebound just before half-time.

Javier Manquillo's equaliser threatened to derail the day, yet Ronaldo slotted through Freddie Woodman's legs to put United back in control, with Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard rounding off a fine win to take United to the top of the table.

In a post on his official Instagram account, Ronaldo wrote: "My return to Old Trafford was just a brief reminder of why this stadium is known as the Theater of Dreams.

"For me, it has always been a magical place where you can achieve everything you set your mind to.

"Along with all my team-mates 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.

"Proud to be back at United and playing in the Premier League once again, but above all, happy to help the team! Let's go, Devils!"

Ronaldo set a league record for the length of a gap between two goals in the competition (12 years, 118 days), while also becoming the oldest player to score a double in a Premier League match since Graham Alexander did so for Burnley in 2010, at the age of 38.

Solskjaer said Ronaldo's return "lived up to all expectations" and, in a separate interview with BBC Sport, United's manager enthused over the superstar's homecoming.

"I'm so happy for Cristiano Ronaldo. I'm so happy for the team and supporters. You sense the atmosphere around the club since he signed. It could easily have been an anti-climax because expectations were so high," he said.

"It feels like one of the old days. It's special. Cristiano is a special man and a special player for us in the history of the club.

"He senses big moments and scores goals. He's clinical, he's ruthless. He's lifted the team and everyone around the club. Everyone is dreaming. They can dream and we'll focus."

Related items

  • Important Bergwijn happy to stay at Tottenham - Conte Important Bergwijn happy to stay at Tottenham - Conte

    Steven Bergwijn inspired Tottenham to a stunning late 3-2 win over Leicester City on Wednesday and Antonio Conte appears to have no intention of allowing him to leave.

    Bergwijn has been consistently linked with a move away from Spurs, with Ajax and Sevilla said to be among those interested in the forward.

    However, he rescued Spurs from their first Premier League defeat under Conte in remarkable circumstances at the King Power Stadium.

    Patson Daka put the Foxes in front against the run of play, but Harry Kane's 250th club goal of his career brought Spurs level in a pulsating first half.

    James Maddison looked to have consigned Tottenham to defeat as Spurs boss when he restored Leicester's lead 14 minutes from time.

    But Bergwijn provided an incredible twist in the tale, coming off the bench to strike in the 95th minute and again in the seventh minute of stoppage time to move Spurs above fierce rivals Arsenal into fifth place.

    Asked about the Netherlands international, Conte said: "In the past when someone asks me about Steven Bergwijn, I was very clear.

    "I said that for me he is an important player because he has characteristics that in our squad we don't have many creative players.

    "He is very good in one vs one, good to beat the man. He can play striker, he can play number 10 and for us, for me, he is an important player and we have to try to improve, to become stronger, not to lose a player and become less strong.

    "Steven is a player that if he's in good physical condition and he has good fitness, he can start the games or he can come in and change the game.

    "For me, I think he's an important player and you know very well the player has to be happy and I think the player is happy to stay with us and play for Tottenham."

  • Man Utd 'destroyed' by Brentford in first half and only deserved a draw - Frank Man Utd 'destroyed' by Brentford in first half and only deserved a draw - Frank

    Manchester United were "destroyed" in the first half of their 3-1 win over Brentford, with Thomas Frank claiming they only deserved a draw at most. 

    United failed to register a single shot on target in the opening period in west London on Wednesday, while David de Gea was forced into three saves from Mathias Jensen and Ethan Pinnock. 

    After Cristiano Ronaldo sent a header against the crossbar at the start of the second half, Anthony Elanga put the Red Devils ahead with their first shot on target. 

    Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford put United out of sight and secured a 300th Premier League away victory for the club, with Ivan Toney netting a late consolation for Brentford. 

    "Unbelievably proud of my team. I think we are the smallest club in the Premier League, Manchester United are probably the biggest. The way we played in the first half, I think we destroyed them," Frank told BT Sport. 

    "We should have been up at least 2-0, they didn't have a sniff, nothing. We created five, six chances and three huge chances. Man United deserved a maximum of a draw. I think they are unbelievably lucky. 

    "Of course you need to take your chances, I know all that c**p. But the performance, I'm proud of that. They changed the system against little Brentford. I'm so, so proud of my team. 

    "[It was] one of those nights, it's football. Fair play to De Gea, a very good performance. If we get those chances again one will go in the back of the net. 

    "Our intensity killed them, we showed that in the first half. We pressed them, when we had to we defended low, we won the second balls, we played behind and ran behind them. We played the Brentford way in the first half. 

    "The game opened up. They hadn't had a chance before their goal. Of course, I know that's why they pay 72 million [pounds] for [Jadon] Sancho, who's not even included in the team. That's why, that little bit of brilliance created the first goal. 

    "Of the three goals, the second is most disappointing and difficult to come back from. There were huge positives. I think the way we smashed them in the first half was fantastic, so proud of my team." 

  • 'Atletico must put heart, head and shoulders in the face of what is happening' - Simeone 'Atletico must put heart, head and shoulders in the face of what is happening' - Simeone

    Diego Simeone has demanded his players give their all to get Atletico Madrid's season back on track but admitted they are "competing well and have the desire" after being knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Real Sociedad on Wednesday.

    Goals in each half from Adnan Januzaj and Alexander Sorloth were enough to consign the Rojiblancos to a 2-0 defeat at Reale Arena, their seventh loss in their last 12 games in all competitions.

    It means that it has been four seasons since Atletico reached the quarter-finals of the Copa dey Rey, having not done so since the 2017-18 campaign.

    It is the second time in six days that Atletico have been eliminated from a cup competition, having lost 2-1 to Athletic Bilbao in the semi-final of the Supercopa de Espana last week in Saudi Arabia.

    Speaking after the game in San Sebastian, Simeone urged his players to rescue their season. They are due to play Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions League, and sit in fourth place in LaLiga, though a sizeable 16 points behind leaders Real Madrid.

    "We must put our heart, our head, and our shoulders in the face of what is happening to us," he insisted. "We need to contribute together starting with the game on Saturday [at home to Valencia].

    "It's a shame because the team is competing well and has the desire to get out of this uncomfortable situation.

    "We're in a phase wherein, like many say, the dynamic is not good. We need to think about the positives. I'm optimistic and I believe in my players.

    "Football is decisive in both penalty boxes and the more decisive you are, the closer you get to winning. Hopefully, we can again find the clean sheets that were once criticised but that now hold more weight. With stability, everything else becomes easier.

    "It's a problem of football, of life. Every day is not the same. Last season was magnificent and this one is being very difficult.

    "The opportunities are there, we have the league and the Champions League. I will not stay still, that's for sure."

    Simeone was also asked about an incident prior to the game at Reale Arena when La Real fans were seen to throw objects at the Atletico bus as it pulled towards the stadium.

    "We were on a path surrounded by Real Sociedad fans, who I understand are always there, but they were protected by the people who should have dealt with the situation. Suddenly, there was no protection and everyone saw that."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.