Ronaldo made a stunning return to the Premier League on Saturday.
Cristiano Ronaldo made his long-awaited return to Manchester United and Old Trafford on Saturday and marked the match against Newcastle United in style, scoring twice in the 4-1 win.
The Portuguese forward scored a tap-in just before half-time, after being rewarded for anticipating that the Magpies goalkeeper Freddie Woodman would spill the ball. Ronaldo’s second, a powerful finish to restore the home side’s lead following Newcastle’s equaliser, brought Old Trafford to its feet and signalled possibly the largest cheer at the stadium since the club last won the Premier League in 2013.
Following Ronaldo’s return to the Red Devils, some details have emerged about his preparation for the game and what he said to his new teammates ahead of the fixture.
Cristiano Ronaldo speech ahead of Newcastle game and why he didn’t perform initiation ritual.
Ahead of Ronaldo’s first game back at Old Trafford on Saturday, the Portuguese forward reportedly gave a speech to the Man United squad. According to The Athletic, Ronaldo told his new teammates that “they were very good players” but that “levels would be going up” as the club aim to win trophies this season.
On Friday night, ahead of the match against Newcastle, Ronaldo gave another speech at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester, where the team stays ahead of home games.
🗣 Lee Grant: "[Normally on Friday] you finish your dinner, and usually you've got a few cheat stuff out, apple crumble and custard… Not one player touched the crumble and custard because everybody was looking at Cristiano’s plate!" [@talkSPORT]
— UtdDistrict (@UtdDistrict) September 12, 2021
Lee Grant: "What was on Ronaldo's plate? There was quinoa, avocado and hard-boiled eggs. This guy is in amazing shape. He has the second best physique on the team. after me [laughs].” [@talkSPORT]
— United Zone (@ManUnitedZone_) September 12, 2021
The former Real Madrid forward thanked the United squad for their warm welcome. Ronaldo, however, did not partake in the traditional initiation ritual for new signings – the initiation song.
Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, the club’s other new signings this summer, both took part in the ritual. But Ronaldo is said to have reminded those in attendance that he already performed an initiation song when he joined Man United from Sporting Lisbon in 2003.
Cristiano Ronaldo on his Man United return against Newcastle.
Following the victory over Newcastle, Ronaldo admitted that he was “nervous” about his first match at Old Trafford as a Man United player since May 2009. He also praised the United supporters in attendance and his new teammates.
“I was really nervous, maybe I did not show it,” Ronaldo told Sky Sports.
“The reception was incredible. I was thinking last night that I wanted to show I’m still capable of helping the team. When I started the game, I was super nervous when they were singing my name but this crowd is unbelievable.”
“We have a fantastic team, a young team and a fantastic coach. But we have to build up confidence. The team needs to be mature if it wants to win the Premier League and Champions League. I think we are in a good way, we have to win games, build up the confidence, build up the team and I am here to help the team.”