Ronaldo’s Return

The world-class forward proves that he is not slowing down anytime soon

Cristiano Ronaldo was the Premier League Golden Boot winner in 2008.

Toby Melville

Cristiano Ronaldo was the Premier League Golden Boot winner in 2008.

Gavin Block, Reporter

Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo has finally returned to Manchester United after being away from the club for 12 years.

The Premier League team announced on Friday, Aug. 27 that they had reached an agreement with Ronaldo’s former team of Juventus to sign the 36-year-old for an initial transfer fee of €15 million ($17.7 million USD). This transfer also included a two-year contract plus an optional year.

Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani, who signed with United in October 2020, agreed to switch his shirt number to 21 so that Ronaldo could keep his regular number 7 shirt.

Ronaldo originally played for the Red Devils from 2003 to 2009. During his time at United, he made a total of 292 appearances and scored 118 goals, as well as winning major trophies including three Premier Leagues, the FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League. He then went on to spend nine years with Real Madrid, followed by a move to Juventus in 2018.

On Aug. 31, Ronaldo posted on Instagram: “Everyone who knows me, knows about my never ending love for Manchester United. The years I spent in this club were absolutely amazing and the path we’ve made together is written in gold letters in the history of this great and amazing institution.” He also asserted that “history has been written in the past [by him] and history will be written once again.”

Ronaldo made his second debut for Manchester United against Newcastle on Sept. 11 at the red-filled Old Trafford stadium.

His first chance on goal came in the ninth minute, when he unsuccessfully attempted to score a half-volley.

In the 47th minute, as the first half seemed that it would end goalless, forward Mason Greenwood took a shot just outside the 18-yard-box, which deflected off two Newcastle players and landed to Ronaldo, who capitalized with his first goal back at United. 

“Close your eyes, and he never went away,” commentator Peter Drury (who is known for his poetic play-by-play analysis) said in the moment of the goal. “Without so much as a buy your leave, Cristiano Ronaldo has stolen back the show,” he enunciated.

Newcastle right-back Javier Manquillo equalized through a clever play in the 56th minute.

Just six minutes later, Manchester left-back Luke Shaw dribbled the ball upfield and played in Ronaldo, who scored in quintessential fashion. 

Fellow Portuguese United player Bruno Fernandes scored a screamer in the 80th minute, with Jesse Lingard sealing the win in a play very similar to that of former Arsenal player Jack Wilshere’s iconic goal against Norwich in 2013. 

The 4-1 win was a great showing of Manchester United’s classic playing style. It also demonstrated that with Ronaldo in their lineup, the club is certainly able to reach the zenith of their potential in the near future.

Ronaldo later said in an Instagram post, “Along with all my teammates and with the amazing support that we always get from the stands, we face the road ahead with confidence and optimism that we’ll all be celebrating together in the end.” He noted, “Proud to be back at Man. United and playing in the Premier League once again, but above all, happy to help the team!”

Manchester United will face London club West Ham (who drew with Southampton 0-0 in their last game) on Sunday, Sept. 19.

The game will be broadcasted on NBC Sports and Telemundo at 8 a.m. CDT.