Manchester United’s capture of Cristiano Ronaldo was arguably the signing of the summer transfer window and the veteran forward is in line to make his second debut for the club when Newcastle visit Old Trafford on Saturday.
A pesky international break has delayed Ronaldo’s homecoming, but the moment is now nearly upon us and we’ve taken a look at a few betting options ahead of the fixture.
Could Ronaldo start on the bench?
United fans might have to wait even longer to see the 36-year-old back in the famous red shirt amid speculation he’ll have to settle for a place on the bench due to the quick turnaround after the international break and a period of quarantine.
If anyone is going to be ready for a start after that, it is Cristiano Ronaldo, but a pragmatic Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may spoil the fun for everyone and play it safe with his standout summer signing.
However, Ronaldo has indicated he is expecting to go straight into the starting line-up during an interview with former team-mate Wes Brown on the official United website.
“Of course I will be nervous on Saturday, but I am more mature, I am more experienced,” he saiod.
“I will be prepared and I am going to make pressure to Ole now to start in the XI [laughs]. I am ready to go!”
There are no guarantees and Solskjaer will probably keep us guessing until he names his starting XI, but there are encouraging signs that Ronaldo will be handed a start for his second debut.
A debut goal for CR7?
Ronaldo got a standing ovation when he made his first United debut as a substitute way back in 2003 in a 4-0 win over Bolton Wanderers, but no goal. He did score on his Real Madrid debut in 2009, indeed he went on to score in each of his first four games for the Spanish giants – becoming the first Los Blancos player to do so – but he had to wait for his first goals for previous club Juventus.
It took Ronaldo four games to break his Juve duck, but when he did he grabbed a brace.
The forward did manage two goals in his last outing with Portugal, a 2-1 win over Republic of Ireland, and given his scoring record there is every chance he will find the back of the net this weekend against opponents with a suspect backline.
Newcastle have conceded eight goals in three games so far and they’ve played West Ham, Aston Villa and Southampton. Manchester United, clearly, are a huge step up in class and Ronaldo has a good record against the Magpies, having scored his only United hat-trick so far against the Magpies during his first spell at the club.
We could well be in line for a huge debut from the returning five-time Ballon d’Or winner and we’ve got our own 66/1 #OddsOnThat request to reflect that. Headed goals weren’t really a major part of his game earlier in his career – but the Portuguese veteran is now one of, if not the, world’s best in the air and there is a good chance he’ll demonstrate that on Saturday after scoring twice with his head against the Republic of Ireland. Ronaldo has also been booked in each of his last two outings, against Udinese in Serie A with Juventus and then against the Irish and he may be in line for an action-packed debut against Newcastle.
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