Cristiano Ronaldo has not returned to Manchester United “for a vacation”, but to win trophies.
Ronaldo completed a sensational return to Old Trafford last week, 12 years after leaving United for Real Madrid.
His signing completes a successful window for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has added three players with world class ability to his squad in the form of Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.
Ronaldo’s second United debut could come against Newcastle United on Saturday, and in an interview with his old team-mate Wes Brown, the 36-year-old outlined his intentions.
“I am not here for a vacation. As I told you, before was good, winning important things and I wore the shirt before many years ago, but I am here to win again,” said Ronaldo.
“I am capable, me and my team-mates. I am ready to go, I am ready to go. It is a good chance for me, for the supporters, for the club, to get one step ahead.
“I am ready and I think I will be a huge thing in the next three or four years.”
Newcastle head to Old Trafford without a win so far this season, with Steve Bruce’s side having been denied by James Ward-Prowse’s stoppage-time penalty last time out.
“What a huge disappointment. I thought we’d done enough, scored in the last minute, it’s frustrating and disappointing,” Bruce told a pitchside reporter after that 2-2 draw with Southampton.
“I thought we had the best opportunities. Unfortunately we’ve been hit by another penalty – that’s three in three games. Let’s be brutally honest, it looks a penalty. However, disappointing to concede with 30 seconds to go.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Manchester United – Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo broke the international goalscoring record while on duty with Portugal last week and has had a full stint of training back at Carrington to prepare for Saturday. Surely, Solskjaer will throw him straight back in, even if it’s from the bench?
Newcastle United – Allan Saint-Maximin
United are likely to have plenty of the ball, so pace on the break will be key for Newcastle. Saint-Maximin provides just that, and indeed he thought his 91st-minute goal had won the game against Southampton, before the last-gasp penalty drama at the other end.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Ronaldo’s last Premier League goal came 12 years and 124 days ago, against Manchester 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).
– Ronaldo has scored 48 hat-tricks in all competitions in his club career – the first of these came against Newcastle United, in a Premier League match in January 2008.
– Mason Greenwood has scored in each of Manchester United’s three Premier League games so far this season. He could become just the fourth different teenager to score in four consecutive Premier League appearances, after Robbie Fowler, Nicolas Anelka and Francis Jeffers.
– United have scored at least once in each of their last 14 Premier League home games, netting 40 times in total (2.9 per game). However, they’ve only kept three clean sheets in that run (19 conceded), shipping at least once in each of their last six at Old Trafford.
– Newcastle have opened the scoring in six of their last eight Premier League meetings with United but have gone on to win just two of those (L4).