Cristiano Ronaldo brought the “theater of dreams” into ecstasy. The 36-year-old Portuguese not only scored two goals for Manchester United on Saturday to a 4-1 (1-0) win over Newcastle United, but also ensured a perfect and much-acclaimed return to Old Trafford. More than twelve years after his departure from Manchester, the fans of the English soccer record champions celebrated the superstar exuberantly – and he thanked him in a way that is typical of him: he met and met. “It feels like the old days,” said United coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “He’s a special man and a special player for us.”
In stoppage time in the first half, Ronaldo, who returned to the island from Juventus at the end of August, took advantage of a mistake by Newcastle goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, who could only parry a shot from Mason Greenwood. The multiple world footballer stood correctly and easily pushed the ball over the line. With his well-known cheering pose, he celebrated the leadership with his team colleagues (45th + 2). “If there’s a superstar among us, it’s this boy. He’s just different, ”enthused guest trainer Steve Bruce.
Ronaldo had the perfect answer to the brief shock caused by the surprising equalization by Javier Manquillo (56th). After a pass from Luke Shaw, the former Real star penetrated the penalty area six minutes later and shot the 2-1 through Woodman’s legs. Bruno Fernandes (80th) and Jesse Lingard (90th + 2) made the Ronaldo comeback perfect with their goals. “We are very happy to have him here,” said Ronaldo’s compatriot Fernandes. “Good players can always play well together.”
The Ronaldo cheering show around Old Trafford began well before the start of the game. When the Red Devils arrived by bus, there was loud cheers from the United fans for Ronaldo. In addition to countless jerseys with the Ronaldo number seven, there were also many posters with “Welcome Home” on them. Even when warming up and marching in right before the game, there were chants and applause lasting several minutes for the returnees who, according to coach Solskjaer, gave a short speech to the team in the hotel on Friday evening.
In the stands, Sir Alex Ferguson visibly enjoyed the performance of his former protégé. The 79-year-old brought Ronaldo to the island in 2003 as the then United coach. The Scotsman also played a major role in the return through talks with the 2016 European champions. “He was now the main reason I signed with Manchester United,” said Ronaldo.