Solskjaer Hails Ronaldo Impact Ahead of Champions League Return

Solskjaer Hails Ronaldo Impact Ahead of Champions League Return Photo: TT
Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Newcastle United

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to return to the UEFA Champions League with Manchester United on Tuesday and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is excited about his potential impact.

Ronaldo made his United return on Saturday in the Premier League following his transfer from Juventus, netting a double in a 4-1 win over Newcastle.

The Portuguese’s return to Old Trafford, where he spent six seasons from 2003 to 2009, has lifted expectations as the Red Devils look to end their long silverware drought.

Ronaldo’s return will be a big talking point on the opening matchday of the Champions League where United go to Swiss club Young Boys.

“This team now has grown and matured over the last few seasons,” Solskjaer said. “That was always the plan three years ago, back in the day when I came in, that we could have a squad with the experience and quality to challenge.

“With players like David (De Gea), Harry’s (Maguire) had a couple of years here now. Were getting a spine in the team with experience and quality.

“Of course, with Raphael (Varane) and Cristiano, they add not the last bit of course because you can never say its your last bit but it added something extra you have to buy, unless you win it four times yourself.

“The group is special, I have to say. As a unit, they look after each other, the atmosphere is really good and that will stand us in good stead, definitely.”

Solskjaer laughed off an anecdote from United back-up keeper Lee Grant who said Ronaldo had lifted off-field standards with his professionalism as all players opted against having dessert on Friday.

“That was obviously a joke by Granty in a setting with some mates or ex-players,” he said. “Of course, he has proven over the years how to look after himself.

“I think he will be an example for a lot of players on how to adapt yourself, how to prolong your career. I said it myself, when you retire, you look back to the best time of your life, so stay in the game as long as you can, stay professional, have a good attitude.”

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer @bensomerford
Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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