Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hailed the club for bringing in new signing Cristiano Ronaldo who he says has lifted the team.

Ronaldo netted a double on his second United debut as the Red Devils won 4-1 over Newcastle in the English Premier League on Saturday.

The return of the 36-year-old Portuguese, who won three league titles during his previous six-year stint at Old Trafford, has offered United fans genuine hope that they can end their trophy wait.

United have not won any trophies since 2017, while they have not lifted the Premier League title since 2013 and Solskjaer hailed Ronaldo's presence within the squad.

"Cristiano senses the big moments and is ruthless. He is clinical," Solskjaer said.

"Cristiano lifts everyone, gets everyone so focused when he's around the place, he puts demands on himself which puts demands on his teammates and demands on us, and that's why he's done so much in his career, he's been so disciplined.

"He's evolved, he's a developed as a player, he's a different type of player to when he left but he's still a ruthless and clinical goalscorer, and he smells the big moments. He scents when there's a goal."

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo's return comes along with the Red Devils signing Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane in a signal of intent during the recent transfer window.

"I've got say well done to the club and everyone for bringing in players to challenge," Solskjaer said.

"We're bringing competitors but they're good people and we have got a good and strong squad.

"The atmosphere around the club has been electric, the supporters have really enjoyed the last 10 days or so since he signed and there are loads of expectations on the team today and he's delivered."

Solskjaer added he never considered not starting Ronaldo against Newcastle, stating: "This was a day for everyone to enjoy."

Ronaldo's double means he is the oldest player to score for United in the Premier League since Ryan Giggs in February 2013 (39y 86d v QPR).

The Portuguese is also the oldest player to score a double in a Premier League game since Burnley's Graham Alexander (38y 182d) against Hull City in 2010.

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."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revelled in Cristiano Ronaldo's hugely successful second Manchester United debut after the veteran forward scored twice against Newcastle United.

Solskjaer's United were 4-1 winners at Old Trafford on Saturday, as the returning Ronaldo started and netted the opener before restoring the hosts' lead following Javier Manquillo's equaliser.

Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard added stunning late strikes, but this was Ronaldo's day – just as the United fans had hoped.

More than 12 years on from his previous Premier League outing – a record gap – the 36-year-old delivered the goods once again.

Solskjaer told Sky Sports he did not consider starting Ronaldo from the bench as "this is what Cristiano is about – this was a day for everyone to enjoy".

Enjoy it the home fans did, seeing their side attempt 21 shots – including six from Ronaldo – in a thrilling attacking display, even if Newcastle were in the game for long periods.

"When you win a game, you enjoy it," Solskjaer said. "When you see fans being happy, you really enjoy it.

"There were loads of expectations. They all delivered. We have to deliver every time. That's Manchester United. It doesn't change."

The link-up between Ronaldo and Fernandes was the source of particular encouragement given their lack of fluency at times for Portugal.

Only Mohamed Salah (32) has scored more Premier League goals than Fernandes (30) since he joined United, yet his international tally has increased by just three in that time.

The midfielder linked up effectively with Ronaldo on Saturday, however, even outside of their goals.

To no player did Ronaldo play more passes than his nine to Fernandes, while there were 11 in return. The only chance Ronaldo created was for his compatriot.

"Good players can always play together," Solskjaer said. "They have a mutual respect and play for Portugal together."

Fernandes agreed, adding: "Everyone knows what Cristiano brings to the club and the world of football.

"It's about everything we can do for the team, and getting results. Good players can always be good together and play in the same team."

Cristiano Ronaldo was handed his second Manchester United debut after he was named in their starting XI for Saturday's visit of Newcastle United.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner completed his return to the club when he arrived from Juventus two weeks ago for an initial fee of £12.9million (€15m) on a two-year deal with the option of a third.

After being granted permission to leave Portugal duty early and then serving a period of isolation, Ronaldo reported to United's training ground for the first time on Tuesday.

He began training with his new team-mates the next day and is now set to play his first Premier League game since May 2009 – the longest gap between appearances in the competition's history.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed on Friday that Ronaldo would at the very least play as a substitute, but with Edinson Cavani – who allowed the Portugal captain to take over the number seven jersey – absent, the 36-year-old starting seemed inevitable.

Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 games in his first spell at United, which lasted for six years before he joined Real Madrid in 2009.

Despite that return in front of goal, the Portugal captain scored just one hat-trick across that previous stint – coincidentally, that came against Saturday's opponents Newcastle in January 2008.

It is fair to say Ronaldo made a habit of trebles in the 12 years after leaving Old Trafford, plundering 44 at Real Madrid and three for Juventus – long-time rival Lionel Messi has 46 since the Sporting CP product's first club hat-trick.

Of course, Ronaldo's reliability from the penalty spot has helped his goals tally, with his 84 spot-kicks since August 2009 being 31 more than any other player (Messi, 53) across the top five European leagues.

That could impact Bruno Fernandes' numbers, given he has been United's regular taker since joining from Sporting last year, missing just one of 22 attempts.

Nevertheless, United fans will be eager to see the two Portugal team-mates link up for the first time at club level, and Fernandes will be the main danger supporting Ronaldo in attack, while the in-form Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho can provide threat from the flanks.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hit out at the "farcical" situation that could prevent Brazil international Fred from playing for Manchester United this weekend.

United blocked Fred from joining up with his national side for their triple-leader of September World Cup qualifiers due to Brazil being on the United Kingdom's travel red list amid the coronavirus pandemic.

That would mean players having to isolate in a hotel for a minimum of 10 days upon their return, ruling them out for at least three matches.

However, the ​Brazilian Football Confederation has asked FIFA to enforce a law that would block players not released from representing their countries for at least five days.

Should that be the case, Fred will not be available for selection to face Newcastle United on Saturday, although United are still waiting on official confirmation.

Solskjaer has now joined Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, who are also set to be without some key players over the coming days, in calling on FIFA to show some common sense.

"It is a lose, lose, lose situation for everyone, national teams, players, clubs," he said at a pre-match news conference on Friday. "It has been a farce. 

"The players want to play. We know the situation we find ourselves in. We've had to try and find a way, but all the decisions have gone against the players.

"I'm disappointed with the whole thing. We need to prepare without Fred but fingers crossed some sense can come into it and we can use him."

Fred has started all three games for United so far this season and is second only to defender Harry Maguire (152) for successful passes (133), while only Aaron Wan-Bissaka (five) has intercepted the ball more times than the Brazilian (four).

While the 28-year-old's availability remains uncertain, Solskjaer confirmed returning forward Cristiano Ronaldo is in line for his second debut this weekend.

In further good news for United, who have seven points from the first nine on offer, Jadon Sancho is also available despite withdrawing from the England squad with a knock.

"Jadon has come back in with a minor problem but he's trained the last couple of days," Solskjaer said. 

"He's disappointed he couldn't play for England but determined to be fit and he’s available. So that's a positive. 

"The international break, we didn't get anyone injured.

"Luke [Shaw], Harry [Maguire] and Victor [Lindelof] played late on Wednesday night so they've not had a lot of recovery but they will be available, I think."

United have lost just one of their last 36 home league games against Newcastle (W26 D9), with that defeat coming in December 2013 when David Moyes was in charge.

The Red Devils have scored at least once in each of their last 14 Premier League home games, meanwhile, netting 40 times in total (2.9 per game).

Cristiano Ronaldo will "definitely" make his second Manchester United debut in Saturday's Premier League clash with Newcastle United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner completed a sensational return to Old Trafford two weeks ago for an initial fee of £12.9million (€15m) on a two-year deal with the option of a third.

After being granted permission to leave Portugal duty early and then serving a period of isolation, Ronaldo reported to United's training ground for the first time on Tuesday.

He started training with his new team-mates on Wednesday and is now set to play his first Premier League game since May 2009 – the longest gap between appearances in the competition's history – this weekend.

"He had a good pre-season with Juventus, he's played for his national team and has had a good week with us here," Solskjaer said at Friday's pre-match news conference.

"He will definitely be on the pitch at some point, that's for sure."

Ronaldo scored 188 goals in 292 games in his first spell at United, which lasted for six years before he joined Real Madrid in 2009.

Despite that prolific return in front of goal, the Portugal captain scored just one hat-trick across that previous stint – against Saturday's opponents Newcastle in January 2008.

And Solskjaer expects the former Juventus man's return to also help get the most out of others in the squad as United look to build on a return of two wins and a draw from their opening three Premier League games.

"Everyone is very happy to have him back. He can speak for himself but he seems happy to be back as well," Solskjaer said. 

"The mood has been good and we're looking forward to Saturday.

"The way he has come in and conducted himself... we know what he's achieved in his career but he's coming here to achieve more. 

"He's lived the life of a top professional ever since he came here. You can't go into training and give 95 per cent and not be focused, that's what he demands from everyone."

Ronaldo has remained prolific across nine years with Real Madrid and three with Juventus, scoring a combined 551 goals in 572 matches in all competitions.

Asked what he is expecting from a player that finished top of the Serie A scoring charts in his last season with Juve, Solskjaer said: "Everyone evolves and develops throughout their career.

"Cristiano is a different player to the one who left but he's in such good nick still and will be looking in next few years to play and score as many goals as he can but also to be on the end of crosses and he's added something extra.

"We don't have his skill set in the team, the mix, no one has really. He is one of the best players that's ever played the game.

"He has developed, he has evolved as age goes by you have to change your game a little bit. You won't see those 18, 19, 20 stepovers before he goes past you.

"He has developed into one of the most accurate finishers. What he has developed on at Real Madrid has impressed us all. He is one of the best in the air, he still hits the target 99 out of 100 times when he shoots from outside the box as well. 

"He knows the game more, the positions and he is still as quick as he was it looks like, from the stats. Everyone is going to look up to him and he is going to be a leader in this dressing room."

Manchester United have a "massive" opportunity to win multiple titles this season following the return of superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, according to former Red Devils winger Jesper Olsen.

Ronaldo is back at Old Trafford after re-joining United from Serie A giants Juventus before the transfer window closed last week – the all-time leading goalscorer in men's international football signing a two-year contract with the option for a third in Manchester.

The 36-year-old won one of his five Ballon d'Or trophies with United, scoring 118 goals in 292 games across his first spell in Manchester as he clinched three Premier League titles and the Champions League – a competition he has since won four more times – before moving to Real Madrid in 2009.

Formerly a dazzling winger but now a penalty-box poacher, Ronaldo has netted 674 times across 895 club games in all competitions, averaging a goal every 108 minutes.

Between his entrance on the Premier League stage and his final appearance in May 2009, Frank Lampard (131) and Thierry Henry (124) were the only two to have a hand in more English top-flight goals than Ronaldo (118) – Henry (92) the only one to outscore Ronaldo's 84.

After his 12-year absence, Ronaldo – who scored the first of his 48 club hat-tricks against Newcastle United in 2008 – is in line to make his debut against the Magpies in the Premier League on Saturday, and former United winger Olsen is excited about the Portuguese's second coming.

"I think it's fantastic. It's a great way to finish his career I suppose. He is 36 now," Olsen, who won the FA Cup during his four years at United in the 1980s, told Stats Perform.

"I was doing a lot of work in Manchester at the time when he arrived, we looked after Wayne Rooney – our sports management company – I can only see the whole thing being positive.

"The stature of the guy and also the players around him getting to play with him and learn from him. Exciting for the Premier League, absolutely."

Not since 2012-13 – Alex Ferguson's final season in charge – have United won the Premier League, while the Red Devils have not celebrated silverware since claiming the Europa League, EFL Cup and Community Shield in 2016-17.

United, who finished second to rivals Manchester City in the Premier League in 2020-21, surprisingly lost to Villarreal in last season's Europa League final.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United have won two of their opening three league fixtures this season, ahead of Newcastle's visit to the Theatre of Dreams.

Ronaldo's last Premier League appearance was in May 2009 against Arsenal – if he faces Newcastle, it will set a new record for the longest gap between appearances in the competition's history (12 years, 118 days).

His last Premier League goal came 12 years and 124 days ago, against City in May 2009. Assuming he scores again for the Red Devils, only one player has ever had a longer gap between Premier League goals – Matt Jackson (13 years and 187 days between May 1993 and November 2006).

"It [Ronaldo's arrival] certainly hasn't made United weaker as a team. It isn't easy to win anything, we know that," Olsen continued. "We talk about Tottenham who haven't won anything for a long time. The Premier League is hard.

"The way United played last season, they got some rhythm and continuation in terms of winning matches. I think they have the spine and now the belief as well. The players seem to have settled in.

"The mixture of younger players, too. The likes of [Paul] Pogba and [Bruno] Fernandes performing well, [Edinson] Cavani coming on to score goals, [Mason] Greenwood as well. I think it's a really good mix. We know there's a lot of different competitions. It's a long season. It can only help them with that squad they have."

With United also bringing in top transfer target Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund and World Cup-winning defender Raphael Varane via Real Madrid, pressure is on manager Solskjaer to deliver.

"Every year, if you play for United, you're expected to win titles – players and managers. Obviously, he came to United with a bit of experience but it's a massive club and a huge task," ex-Denmark international Olsen added.

"…It has to click but they definitely have a massive chance to not win one title but possibly a few over the next 12 months.

"It takes time but if you look as a player, and I don't think at any stage or age, if you look around Europe, the bigger clubs you can join, United surely stands as one of those at the top.

"They have certainly been on reliant on a way of playing that suits the team. They will have a lot of ball now with the way they play. It's a lot more settled. They've done really well in terms of signings. It can take some time to settle at United, but after a long time in the wilderness I suppose, it's settled down.

"Solskjaer is very calm and very structured. He knows what he's doing with his management team. It's a very exciting season. Obviously, it all depends on the games and if you win of course."

While fans and pundits have been buoyed by United's transfer business in 2021-22, one recent signing has been left in the wilderness.

Donny Van de Beek joined from Ajax last season amid much fanfare, however the Netherlands international is yet to make an appearance this term, having made just four Premier League starts in 2020-21.

"It doesn't make sense because we all know what he did for Ajax, but there's obviously something that the way Solskjaer wants to play doesn't fit in," Olsen, who also played for Dutch giants Ajax, said. "There's no doubt that you don't become a bad player overnight.

"Maybe he is getting used to a different style and system. Sometimes it takes a while but of course there would be people watching because you don't want to go two-three years without playing when you're such an exciting player who has done so much already."

Donny van de Beek is determined to win a place in the Manchester United side after positive talks with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – although he admits his time in England has been "so hard".

Signed from Ajax last September for an initial £34.7million (€39m), the Netherlands international scored on his Premier League debut in a home defeat to Crystal Palace.

The midfielder has since found first-team football hard to come by. He has only started four league matches for the Red Devils, playing just 1,460 minutes of football, fewer than back-up defenders Eric Bailly and Alex Telles.

Van de Beek's agent suggested there was a chance to join Everton in the transfer window, with United's signings of Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo further limiting his client's chances of playing, but there was no progress on any possible move away.

Now, Van de Beek says manager Solskjaer has made it clear he will get his opportunities to impress, even though the 24-year-old has yet to get on the pitch for United this season.

Speaking to Vibe with Five, he said: "First year, you come from another competition and it's normal you need time to adapt. But of course, you're not happy. I want to play – that's clear.

"It's so hard. Of course, also mentally, it's so difficult. The only thing you can do [is] I train really hard every day, I try to improve and you just wait for your chance. If the moment is there, I have to be ready.

"If you're lost or anything, just talk with players, be a part of the team. If you're not playing, try to help them and be positive. You can sit there and just be angry, but that's not the key to come in the team.

"You need to be involved with the team. Sometimes you're angry, every player has that. You're not going to show them if you're not training hard any more. You give the manager a reason to play without you.

"I speak with the manager about it, the club, and they were clear they want me to stay. The manager was really positive about me and said, 'I need you, I want to keep you here because what I see now, in training, I see a different Donny now'. He was really positive about me.

"He saw a big difference, a little bit stronger now and he can see I have a one-year experience in England now.

"I need to trust him. If he doesn't need me, I think he will let me go. I think he has plans with me. I just need to work hard and I hope I can show the people what I can [do].

"You can never promise a player if he will play or not, but I think I agree that I have to play more. You can train hard every day but, in the end, you need game time to show your best shape. If you play once in a month, you cannot show your best. That's really important."

Despite the intense competition for places, Van de Beek was delighted with United's transfer business, which also saw them bring in Raphael Varane from Real Madrid.

"To be with these players is fantastic," he said. "That's what we need: winners. I'm really positive about us this season. I think we can make big steps now.

"The level will go up, for sure. If good players join the team, the level goes up. You train with maybe 24 players, but good players can make a difference."

The transfer window does not close. It slams shut, and on Tuesday, it slammed shut with a flurry of late activity.

LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid were heavily involved, with Antoine Griezmann re-joining the club on loan from Barcelona while Saul Niguez left for Chelsea.

It marked the end of a difficult window for Barca, who of course lost Lionel Messi to Paris Saint-Germain, who rounded off a stellar three months by not only keeping Kylian Mbappe, but also adding promising left-back Nuno Mendes.

Earlier in the day, Cristiano Ronaldo's sensational return to Manchester United had been confirmed, perhaps putting the Red Devils right in the mix for the Premier League title, while Chelsea - buoyed by Romelu Lukaku's comeback - cannot be ignored.

Here, Stats Perform looks at the winners, and losers, of what has been a chaotic transfer window.

 

THE WINNERS

Paris Saint-Germain

Let's start with the obvious. Achraf Hakimi, Mendes, Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georgino Wijnaldum and, of course Messi. Oh, and PSG kept hold of Mbappe, too, rebuffing three bids - the final one reportedly worth €200m - from Real Madrid for the 22-year-old superstar who is out of contract next year. Speaking of out of contract players, Ramos, Donnarumma, Wijnaldum and Messi were all brought in for combined fees of €0, although their wages are sure to be astronomical even by PSG's standards. In Mbappe, Neymar and Messi, PSG have, on paper, what could be the most feared attacking trident of the modern era, not to mention Angel Di Maria in reserve. Mauricio Pochettino's side look suspect defensively but have Ramos to come in, while Donnarumma will compete with Keylor Navas. If they do not win the Champions League this season, will they ever manage it?

Manchester United

It remains to be seen whether United really needed to go out and buy Ronaldo, but the temptation – and reportedly, the requirement to get one over on noisy neighbours Manchester City – was just too much. However, there is no doubting Ronaldo brings a focal point you could argue was still missing from the Red Devils' attack, though with so much quality at his disposal the pressure will be on Ole Gunnar Solskjer to deliver a trophy. United spent big on Jadon Sancho and also brought in a world class defender in Raphael Varane. A title tilt might not be expected just yet, but silverware in some form must be the goal now. After fan protests during the botched Super League proposals earlier this year, the Glazer family seem to have gone all out to prove they want success.

Chelsea

When it comes to Premier League title contenders, Chelsea have surely put themselves well in the running. The European Champions have brought in two major additions in the form of Lukaku and Saul, both players with a wealth of experience at the highest level, and both on the back of title-winning campaigns last season. The Blues did sell Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud and Kurt Zouma, among others, but the strength in depth Thomas Tuchel has to play with is remarkable. A deadline day move for Sevilla's Jules Kounde did not materialise, but Saul adds another fantastic option in midfield to go alongside N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and the in-form Jorginho.

Tottenham

For a long while, it looked as though Tottenham would be one of the big losers from this window. A prolonged managerial search eventually resulted in Nuno Espirito Santo's appointment, but the main saga was over Harry Kane's future. City reportedly made one bid, during Euro 2020, which was dismissed out of hand. The champions never did return with an improved offer, despite huge speculation, and Kane ultimately stayed put. Older players such as Joe Hart, Toby Alderweireld, Erik Lamela and Moussa Sissoko were moved out, while Bryan Gil, Pierluigi Gollini, Cristian Romero and Emerson Royal – a deadline day arrival from Barca – arrived to fill the gaps. Serge Aurier's contract was terminated, while three wins from three means Spurs sat top of the league heading into the international break.

Atletico Madrid

While Saul was a deadline day exit, Atleti have given themselves a great chance of retaining their LaLiga title. With rivals Madrid failing to land Mbappe, as well as losing two of their stalwarts, and Barca seemingly in disarray, there has never been a better opportunity for Diego Simeone's team to really assert themselves as top dogs in Spain. Griezmann's arrival, on a season-long loan with the option for either club to extend the switch, has bolstered a fearsome attack that already included Luis Suarez, Angel Correa, new signing Matheus Cunha and Joao Felix - though the latter may now find chances to play in his preferred position, nominally off the front man, even harder to come by. Saul was struggling to nail down a regular spot in the first team, but Atleti showed greater desire to keep Kieran Trippier, who stayed despite interest from the Premier League. Rodrigo de Paul also arrived from Udinese.

 

THE LOSERS

Barcelona

The chickens have finally come home to roost at Camp Nou. Years of mismanagement, and the impact of COVID-19, has left the club's finances in a shambolic state. Barca had agreed to a new deal with Messi only to then announce the deal could not be completed due to "financial and structural obstacles". Barca ended the window by selling promising youngster Ilaix Moriba to RB Leipzig and shipping off Emerson to Spurs. Then, late on Tuesday, Griezmann, who cost Barca €120m in 2019, was sent back to Atleti. Luuk de Jong, a target man Ronald Koeman worked with during his stint as the Netherlands' coach, was drafted in from Sevilla as a replacement. Memphis Depay seems ready to step up after his arrival from Lyon, while Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero also came in on free transfers, though Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets were among the players who took pay cuts in order for Barca to register their latest acquisitions.

Inter

Serie A champions Inter were dealt a blow when, just after ending their 11-year trophy drought, coach Antonio Conte left the club. Financial difficulties meant the Nerrazurri had to cash in on prized assets, and Hakimi and subsequently Lukaku followed Conte out of the door. Lautaro Martinez did stay, however, with Inter reinvesting some of the funds to sign Netherlands right-back Denzel Dumfries, Roma striker Edin Dzeko and Lazio forward Juan Correa. Hakan Calhanoglu, meanwhile, joined from rivals Milan on loan, though it is difficult to see that being enough for Inter to challenge on all fronts this season.

 

Juventus

While Inter were weakened, it has to be said that Juventus – surely their closest rivals in the Scudetto hunt – also had a disappointing window. Like many European clubs, they have been hit hard by COVID-19, though appeared well set to challenge again after reappointing Massimiliano Allegri. However, Ronaldo decided he wanted out late in the window, and Juve did not stand in his way. An initial fee of £12.86m (€15m), payable over five years, was agreed with United, and Ronaldo left just like that. Moise Kean returned from Everton on a two-year loan with an obligation to buy as a replacement, while Manuel Locatelli was their other major acquisition and Weston McKennie's move from Schalke was made permanent. Based on the performance in Sunday's defeat to Empoli, however, Juve are far from the force they were during Allegri's last spell in charge.

Real Madrid

For a time last week, it really did look as though Madrid were going to end the window in sensational fashion. Three bids were lodged for Mbappe, but PSG did not buckle. Madrid did move for another French youngster – Edouardo Camavinga, who joined from Rennes on Tuesday – but overall it must be considered a poor window. Los Blancos allowed Ramos to leave on a free and sold long-time defensive partner Varane - just the eight Champions League winners' medals between them. Martin Odegaard was deemed surplus to requirements by Carlo Ancelotti and sold to Arsenal, though no buyers were found for fringe players Luka Jovic or Dani Ceballos. David Alaba's arrival on a free transfer from Bayern Munich at least softened the blow of Ramos' departure, and Mbappe may well be on board in 2022.

Manchester City

City broke the British transfer record to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa, who in turn have made smart acquisitions such as Danny Ings, Leon Bailey and Emiliano Buendia. While another attacking midfielder was more of a luxury than a necessity, City did miss out on Kane and then seemingly saw Ronaldo snatched from under their noses by United, though the club have claimed it is they who pulled out of the deal. Pep Guardiola went into the window wanting an out-and-out number nine following Aguero's departure, but for now the Premier League champions will have to carry on with makeshift forwards, it seems. Not that it did them much harm in 5-0 routs of Norwich City and Arsenal last month. Meanwhile, wantaway playmaker Bernardo Silva is still at the club, though he will remain a first-team regular.

Liverpool 

Unlike their league rivals, Liverpool never seemed focused on spending big. The Reds instead turned their attention to tying down the futures of key players, with Jordan Henderson, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson, Fabinho and Andrew Robertson signing new deals. Ibrahima Konate came in from RB Leipzig to boost the defence – a clear area of weakness last season during an injury crisis – though Jurgen Klopp's squad does seem weaker. They have started the season well, but it remains to be seen how they cope without Wijnaldum and even Xherdan Shaqiri should injuries trouble them again.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has allegedly blocked a potential loan move to Everton for midfielder Donny van de Beek, according to the player’s agent.

The Netherlands international is yet to kick a ball this season, appearing as an unused substitute in each of United’s opening three Premier League games.

Van de Beek played 19 times in the top flight last term, with his future reportedly uncertain after just a single year at Old Trafford.

The former Ajax man received assurances heading into this campaign from Solskjaer, who told the media: "Donny knows that when he keeps on performing and training how he does for us, he'll be fit and ready when he plays."

According to widespread reports, Van de Beek was nevertheless keen on departing the Red Devils in favour of a loan switch to Everton.

However, Solskjaer is alleged to have blocked the move, much to the dismay of the midfielder and his agent Guido Albers.

"Manchester United are holding everything back," Albers told Voetbal International. "It's disappointing that United are not cooperating."

Reports subsequently emerged from The Athletic claiming no such loan offer had been made for Van de Beek.

Cristiano Ronaldo said Manchester United have "always had a special place" in his heart after completing his return to the club from Juventus.

The 36-year-old finalised his transfer to the Red Devils on Tuesday for an initial fee of £12.9million (€15m), signing a two-year contract with the option of a third.

The deal came after United made a late push to bring the player back to the club, just as it had looked likely he would sign for rivals Manchester City.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner scored 118 goals in 292 games in his first spell at United from 2003 to 2009, winning three Premier League titles and the Champions League, a trophy he has lifted five times in his career.

Ronaldo is expected to make his first appearance for United in 12 years against Newcastle United on September 11, after the international break.

"Manchester United is a club that has always had a special place in my heart, and I have been overwhelmed by all the messages I have received since the announcement on Friday," he said via United's website.

"I cannot wait to play at Old Trafford in front of a full stadium and see all the fans again. I'm looking forward to joining up with the team after the international games, and I hope we have a very successful season ahead."

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was a team-mate of Ronaldo's towards the end of his playing career, was delighted to bring Real Madrid's record goalscorer back to the club.

"You run out of words to describe Cristiano," Solskjaer said. "He is not only a marvellous player, but also a great human being. To have the desire and the ability to play at the top level for such a long period requires a very special person.

"I have no doubt that he will continue to impress us all and his experience will be so vital for the younger players in the squad. Ronaldo's return demonstrates the unique appeal of this club and I am absolutely delighted he is coming home to where it all started."

Edinson Cavani will now stay at Manchester United during the international break after Uruguay confirmed the striker will not travel due to current restrictions.

The Premier League announced last week that clubs had agreed players who would have to travel to red-list COVID-19 countries would not be released.

Despite the decision, Cavani was initially selected for Oscar Tabarez's squad for their three World Cup qualifiers against Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.

Both Uruguay and Peru are on the United Kingdom's red list, meaning the 34-year-old would have had to quarantine for 10 days in a hotel upon his return from South America.

Tabarez has opted to cancel the call-up due to the fact the United forward would subsequently miss at least two top-flight games against Newcastle United and West Ham and the Champions League match with Young Boys.

The announcement comes after Aston Villa and Tottenham confirmed they would let their Argentinian contingent travel, while Liverpool remained firm in not letting their Brazil trio leave nor Egypt forward Mohamed Salah.

Indeed, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer urged Cavani to stay loyal to the club last weekend, warning his striker that he risked making himself unavailable should he travel.

Meanwhile, United prospect Amad Diallo will also be staying in Manchester after his proposed loan move to Feyenoord was cancelled due to a thigh injury sustained in training. The 19-year-old is set to be out for up to six weeks and will undergo rehabilitation in England.

Speaking to Dutch outlet AD, Feyenoord's technical director Frank Arnesen confirmed: "He got injured, it [the loan] is cancelled.

"Too bad, everything was done. I've talked a lot with the people at Manchester United, but it's more sensible to let him recover at that club. It may be a while before he is back."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would not rule out Manchester United players leaving following the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, saying the Portugal star was "not signed to sit on the bench".

The Red Devils announced on Friday that they had agreed a deal with Juventus, reportedly worth an initial £12.8million (€15m), to bring the 36-year-old back to Old Trafford subject to personal terms, a visa and a medical.

The signing could not be completed in time for United's Premier League clash with Wolves on Sunday, which was settled by a Mason Greenwood strike in the 80th minute as Solskjaer's men set a new English league record of 28 away games unbeaten.

With an international break now coming up, Ronaldo's first chance to turn out for the club he left in 2009 is likely to be against Newcastle United at Old Trafford on September 11.

Solskjaer, who confirmed on Sky Sports that he intends to deploy Ronaldo more as a centre-forward than a wide player, hopes the new addition will be ready as soon as possible once the deal is concluded and he returns from Portugal duties.

"We need to get all the paperwork done. Hopefully we can get that sorted and announce it 100 per cent," Solskjaer said.

"He's away with Portugal, I think they've got three games, his last game is on the Tuesday, so get him back to Manchester with Bruno [Fernandes] and hopefully he'll be involved as soon as possible."

Ronaldo's comeback means United are stocked in attack and could look to offload some players before the transfer window closes.

Amad Diallo had been close to joining Feyenoord on loan, although an injury could reportedly scupper that move, while Jesse Lingard and Dan James have also been linked with departures.

"Of course, he [Ronaldo] was not signed to sit on the bench," said Solskjaer. "He's going to make us a better team, of course.

"There have been a couple of enquiries for some of our players and with the signing of Cristiano, we might give less playing time to a few.

"Dan is a Man United player at the moment."

United laboured for much of the first hour at Molineux and were indebted to a stunning double save from David de Gea to deny Romain Saiss shortly before Greenwood's winner.

"We got three points, get a clean sheet, on another day they might score one in the first half when Aaron [Wan-Bissaka] saves one off the line, or when David saves those two chances second half," Solskjaer said.

"With Mason, he's a special kid.  The boy is unique at hitting the target quickly: right foot, left foot, it doesn't matter to him.

"We've played better, definitely, but sometimes you've got to earn your luck and I thought we did."

Solskjaer was delighted with the performance of defender Raphael Varane, who was largely impeccable at the back and even earned an assist on his United debut.

"Top, top performance," Solskjaer said. "This was 'welcome to the Premier League': tempo, hustle-bustle, tackle, have to defend counter-attacks. He's good in the air, so composed on the ball and he's so experienced, nothing fazes him, and he was good in the dressing room before the game and at half-time.

"I'm delighted for him. I thought he showed his class."

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is confident "special" Mason Greenwood will go on to become a top player for club and country following his winning goal against Wolves.

Greenwood scored the only goal of Sunday's game in the 80th minute as United made it a record-breaking 28 successive unbeaten away matches in the English top flight.

In doing so, the 19-year-old became only the second teenager to find the net in the opening three matches of a Premier League season after Robbie Fowler for Liverpool in 1994-95.

Despite his promising start to the campaign, Greenwood was left out for the England squad ahead of the upcoming international break.

Although following discussions with Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate, Solskjaer admitted the decision was the right one for the youngster's development.

"The boy is special. Mason's a player we [Southgate and himself] can both see being a top player for Manchester United and England," he told Sky Sports.

"Of course, he wants to play for his country but at the moment, I think the best for him is to just focus on his everyday football. 

"I'm sure he'll come good for England in the end."

Solskjaer also heaped praise on David de Gea, who made five saves at Molineux to keep the hosts at bay.

Among them was a superb double-save from close range to deny Romain Saiss the opening goal in the 69th minute.

"David's found his determination and desire. He's come back with loads of energy,” added Solskjaer, who was taking charge of his 100th league match for the Red Devils. 

"You can see that in the work he's doing every single day. 

"The second save from that corner is special. That's not just hit him; that's reaction and he's got a strong arm to it."

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the return of Cristiano Ronaldo will provide everybody around the club with a timely boost.

United announced on Friday that a deal had been agreed to bring the Portugal captain back to the club for a second spell.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo will reportedly move from Juventus in a deal worth £12.8m (€15m) plus £6.9m (€8m) in add-ons.

The 36-year-old enjoyed a hugely successful first stint with the Red Devils between 2003 and 2009.

The forward scored 118 goals in 292 appearances while winning three Premier League titles, the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup before his world-record transfer to Real Madrid.

And Solskjaer is excited by the potential impact of his former team-mate, who is said to have undergone a medical in Lisbon this weekend.

"The fans have been excited for the last couple of days, we all are of course," he told MUTV.

"He has had such a great career and he has been here before. 

"Hopefully, we can just finalise the paperwork and announce it. 

"I played with him, he's a great player, he is a top human being, he is a top professional, so he will give everybody in the squad and everybody around the club a buzz."

Meanwhile, Luke Shaw says he and his team-mates cannot wait to line up alongside Ronaldo and tap into his vast experience at the highest level.

"I feel like it's given the club a massive lift, not just inside but also outside," the defender told Sky Sports.

"Obviously, it's a big positive. He's been one of the best players in the world for a number of years now. 

"Everyone is excited for him to come in and not just learn from him but to be able to play with him too."

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