The truth of Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United has been exposed by a thundering debut the world should have seen coming.
Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed a sensational return to Manchester United as his debut double inspired a 4-1 win against Newcastle, while Arsenal eased the pressure on Mikel Arteta with a 1-0 victory over Norwich on Saturday.
Ronaldo’s second debut for United was the headline act as the Premier League resumed after the international break and the Portugal superstar did not disappoint his adoring fans at Old Trafford.
The 36-year-old insists he did not make his £19.8 million ($27 million) move from Juventus last month for a “vacation”.
Ronaldo lived up to that boast, showing he remains as sharp as ever with a clinical brace either side of Javier Manquillo’s equaliser for Newcastle.
Ronaldo’s compatriot Bruno Fernandes netted with a long-range rocket 10 minutes from full-time before Jesse Lingard bagged the fourth.
“This is what Cristiano is about. This was a day for everyone to enjoy,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.
Ronaldo told BBC Sport: “I didn’t expect to score two goals. I expect one but not two. I have to appreciate the fans and what they did to me today. I feel so proud for that.”
A winner of three Premier League titles and one Champions League crown in six years with United before moving to Real Madrid, Ronaldo was making his first appearance for the club since 2009.
Thousands of fans gathered outside hours before kick-off to catch a glimpse of Ronaldo when he stepped off the United team bus.
Chants of “Viva Ronaldo” echoed around Old Trafford as supporters paraded in their idol’s famous number seven shirt.
Former United boss Alex Ferguson, whose phone call to Ronaldo played a key role in the Portugal striker choosing United over City, was watching from the stands.
Ronaldo’s name was cheered to the rafters before kick-off and inevitably he was destined to break Newcastle’s resistance two minutes into first half stoppage-time.
Mason Greenwood’s shot was spilled by Newcastle keeper Freddie Woodman and Ronaldo reacted quickest to finish from virtually on the goal-line.
Running to the corner to perform his trademark ‘Sii’ celebration, Ronaldo soaked up the acclaim from 76,000 ecstatic fans.
Newcastle threatened to spoil Ronaldo’s day when Manquillo equalised in the 56th minute with a fine finish from Allan Saint-Maximin’s pass.
But Ronaldo had other ideas and he restored United’s lead in the 62nd minute. Luke Shaw’s through-ball sent Ronaldo racing clear on goal and he drilled a low shot under Woodman to raise the roof again.
Surfing the feel-good factor generated by Ronaldo, unbeaten United sit top of the table after a third win from their first four matches
Ronaldo speaks after thundering debut
Cristiano Ronaldo admitted his “unbelievable” return to Manchester United had exceeded his expectations as the Portugal star shrugged off his nerves to score twice in Saturday’s 4-1 win against Newcastle.
Ronaldo returned to United in a blockbuster move from Juventus last month, 12 years after leaving Old Trafford to join Real Madrid.
“Of course I am happy to score goals, I am not going to deny that but the most important thing is the team and the team played good,” he said.
“It is unbelievable. When I started the game I was so nervous, I swear. It is normally because I did not expect that they would sing my name all game.
“I was very nervous but maybe I didn’t show but I was. The reception is incredible but I am here to win games and help the team.
“It was unbelievable moment. I was super nervous and was thinking last night that I wanted to play good and show I was still capable of helping the team.”