Cristiano Ronaldo’s memorable return to Manchester United saw him score two goals in a 4-1 win over Newcastle.
While he did not get a chance to go and score a hat-trick as United netted two more, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was keen to highlight Ronaldo’s contribution to the team’s fourth goal.
Jesse Lingard scored it, following a dummy from Anthony Martial, after Donny van de Beek and Paul Pogba had combined in the build-up.
As well as the involvement of the substitutes, Solskjaer wanted to point out Ronaldo’s unseen role in the goal.
Solskjaer told the club’s official website: “I think the last goal was a brilliant example of Cristiano going to the back stick and opening up that space for Anthony and Jesse to combine in the middle.
“They came on and did really well in the build-up. I’m really pleased for everyone who came on.”
Experienced forward play
Ronaldo at 36 has developed into one of the world’s best strikers and as Solskjaer observes, that does not just mean being a finisher.
It means his movement is excellent off the ball, able to open up space for his teammates and stretch defences.
Ronaldo has a knack of being in the right place at the right time as he showed for United’s first goal, reacting quickest after the goalkeeper spilled Mason Greenwood’s shot.
It is fascinating to hear Solskjaer go out of his way to praise Ronaldo’s contribution to United’s fourth goal as it shows how appreciative he is of a striker truly at the top of his game.
This weekend’s performance showed that even at the age of 36, Ronaldo still has lots more to offer, and made mockery of the pundits who wrote him off before he made his return.
Ronaldo and United’s Champions League campaign kicks off this week away at Young Boys.
He is the all-time top scorer in the competition with 134 goals to his name, and he will be looking to extend this further.
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