Alejandro Garnacho signed for Manchester United to follow Cristiano Ronaldo and he is now living the dream

Alejandro Garnacho is living the dream at Manchester United. This week he scored a sensational goal to cap a 4-1 Youth Cup victory over Everton.

Sprinting with the ball from his own half, Garnacho turned into Road Runner as he outpaced an opponent and left him in his tracks, before calmly slotting the ball in at the near post.

Garnacho has 16 goal contributions in all competitions this season, nine goals and two assists, scoring for the under-23s and under-18s, in the league, cups, and UEFA Youth League.

Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

It is 18 months since United swooped on Atletico Madrid to sign him, and there was one big reason he signed with United, rejecting a contract at his club, and also spurning interest from Borussia Dortmund.

Marca reported Cristiano Ronaldo was a factor, despite the superstar being a Juventus player at the time.

Their 2020 report stated: “The youngster rejected other clubs in order to try and follow in the footsteps of his idol, Cristiano Ronaldo.”

Garnacho always wore the number 7 shirt at Atletico, and his game is loosely modelled on the superstar. He is a goalscorer who likes to play from the left wing, as Ronaldo did at the early stages of his career.

He is a strong dribbler, able to go either direction, and a confident runner with the ball, as he showed against Everton.

His combination of pace and goalscoring ability makes him a difficult opponent for defenders to face, and he also has a free-kick in his locker too.

Garnacho has not yet been pictured with idol Cristiano Ronaldo or been called up to train alongside him, but it is only a matter of time.

His teammates have drawn comparisons between the two, nicknaming him ‘Cristiano’ in responses on his Instagram post, and Garnacho’s ‘Siu’ celebration after scoring his spectacular individual goal.

He had already caught the eye with a bicycle kick in the Youth Cup at the Stretford End in a previous round, showing the temperament to produce on the big stage in his first match at Old Trafford.

What lies ahead for Garnacho this season

Garnacho has a a big task ahead in the FA Youth Cup, with United into the quarter-finals. United are also in the quarter-finals of the Premier League Cup, and the last 16 of the UEFA Youth League.

He will be hoping to lead United to silverware in at least one of them, if not all three. Then there is the challenge of under-23 football.

He has already shown himself capable, scoring an excellent solo goal in the under-23 win over Blackburn Rovers in December. He has only played seven career games at under-23 level, and will be asked to take the step up a little more regularly between now and the end of the season, like FA Youth Cup teammate Charlie McNeill has done.

Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

At 17, time is still on Garnacho’s side, and it would not be a surprise to see him called into first team training as reward for his efforts too, following Alvaro Fernandez and Hannibal.

United can always use a dangerous attacking forward, and Ralf Rangnick was watching United’s Youth Cup match. He can’t have failed to be impressed by the youngster’s contribution. An injury to either Marcus Rashford or Anthony Elanga could see Garnacho fast-tracked.

Garnacho is living the dream at United, and his decision to join the club is so far paying off. The teenager is only going to get better, and fans are right to be excited about his potential.

Alejandro Garnacho goal contributions in 2021/22

  1. 2 goals for United’s under-23s

  2. 9 goals for United’s under-18s in league, Youth Cup, UEFA Youth League, Premier League Cup

  3. 5 assists in all competitions

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