Manchester United face Newcastle at Old Trafford this afternoon and predictably, the build-up was dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo’s homecoming.
The 36-year-old was named in the starting eleven by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and will make his first appearance for the club since the Champions League final loss to Barcelona in 2009.
Ronaldo landed in Manchester last week after being released early from the Portugal camp and has trained with his new teammates since Tuesday, which gave him a fair chance of featuring today.
“Atmosphere is good around the club,” Solskjaer said before the game, as seen below. “We’ve started the season decent with seven points and of course, everyone’s excited by Cristiano’s homecoming. Of course, we wanna see a real Man United performance – we need to be the best version of ourselves.
🗣"When he steps onto this pitch hopefully we get 10% extra."
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talks through his decision to start Cristiano Ronaldo. pic.twitter.com/BAHjoyK2lB
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) September 11, 2021
“He’s been good, he’s trained well,” Solskjaer added when asked to expand on his decision to throw Ronaldo into the firing line.
“You know, everyone can see why he’s still going cause he’s so meticulous and so professional in everything he does. Hopefully then, when he steps onto this pitch, we’ll get another 5-10% extra.”
Manchester United have gone big on Ronaldo’s return on social media but it remains to be seen whether that energy is matched at Old Trafford. Clearly, the legendary forward will receive a hero’s welcome as he returns to the place he developed into the player he is today.
Victory over Newcastle would see Solskjaer’s side claim 10 out their first 12 possible points this season, the joint-best start to a season since 2017/18.