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.x
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.
“Cristiano has developed into a fantastic goalscorer. He played a very good game, He dropped in, linked play well.”
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.
United hope the five-time Ballon d’Or winner can help end arch-rivals Manchester City’s reign as champions and there was an electric air of anticipation around Old Trafford ahead of his return.
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 spilt 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.
Ronaldo raises the roof
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.
With Agency Report