Newcastle face wrath of CR7 as he takes centre stage this weekend on his return to Old Trafford


Ronaldo while playing for Man Utd in 2006. Now he is back to terrorise opponents starting with the Magpies today. – AFP

CRISTIANO Ronaldo is back at Manchester United. Having scored plenty of goals and won a load of trophies since leaving Old Trafford, he has made a sensational return to the Red Devils.

He played for Sporting Lisbon against Man Utd in a pre-season friendly before the start of the 2003-2004 season and impressed Alex Ferguson with a memorable performance, so much so that Ferguson knew he had to sign the young man.

He went on to play 292 games for Man United, scoring 118 goals, winning three Premier League titles as well as the Champions League, one FA Cup and two League Cups before moving to Real Madrid in 2009 and Juventus in 2018.

Former teammates Wayne Rooney, Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra have been raving about his return and are sure that he will help Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side mount a title challenge. And he looks likely to make the starting XI today against Newcastle United.

Man Utd have started the season well with seven points from three games and will be looking to challenge neighbours Manchester City for the league title as well as Liverpool and Chelsea.

“He’s one of the best players in the world,” Rooney said this week.

“Cristiano will know himself it’s not going to be as simple or straightforward for him as it was in Spain or Italy.

“He is going to be a very big player, I think he’s going to have big moments in the season and I’m sure he’ll score a lot of goals.

“So I think United are finally ready to go and challenge for the title, and I really feel they have to this year,” added the former Man Utd and England captain.

In the eight years since Man Utd last won the title, Ronaldo has won the Champions League on four different occasions — more times than Man Utd have made it beyond the group stage of Europe’s elite competition.

Though he is now 36, his presence will certainly give younger players like Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sanco a huge lift. He may also bring out the best in talented playmaker Paul Pogba.

All things point to rapturous homecoming for Ronaldo today as Old Trafford will surely be buzzing.

Newcastle are in for a long evening while a Ronaldo goal will make their rivals sit up and be aware that Manchester United’s decade of decline may soon be over.

Leaders Tottenham start the weekend fixtures at London rivals Crystal Palace in today’s early kick-off and are strong favourites.

Harry Kane scored a sublime goal for England against Poland on Wednesday and we can expect the Palace defenders to have their hands full trying to stop the Three Lions captain.

Leicester will start as underdogs when defending league champions Man City visit the King Power Stadium today. City have now scored 10 goals in their last two games after hammering both Norwich and Arsenal 5-0.

And in Ferran Torres, they have a player at the peak of his career.

With the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden yet to start this season, City’s depth in their squad is indeed frightening.

Leicester got off to an indifferent start in the new campaign and will be hoping Jamie Vardy and talented midfielder James Maddison begin pulling the strings again for the Foxes.

Games between these two sides have always been action-packed with guaranteed goals.

Expect the same again today.

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