After all the hype, the build-up and expectation, Cristiano Ronaldo delivered in almost inevitable fashion on his return to Manchester United scoring twice to send his side top of the Premier League with a 4-1 win over Newcastle United at Old Trafford on Saturday.
With his compatriot Bruno Fernandes adding an 80th minute screamer and substitute Jesse Lingard producing a lovely finish the fourth, it was the perfect start to what feels like a new era for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team.
“When you win a game you enjoy it. When you see fans being happy you really enjoy it. There were loads of expectations today. They all delivered,” said Solskjaer.
“Cristiano Ronaldo has developed into a fantastic goalscorer. He played a very good game, He dropped in, linked play well,” he added.
Long before kick-off, fans in shirts bearing Ronaldo’s name and his number 7 were singing the name of the Portuguese 36-year-old around Old Trafford and they were not to be left disappointed.
Ronaldo has broken all the major goalscoring records in the game and perhaps the only surprise was that it took him until almost halftime to score the first of his second spell in English football.
He was placed in the middle of an attacking trio with Mason Greenwood to his right and Jadon Sancho to the left with Fernandes hovering behind the front line.
The five-times Ballon d’Or winner, who returned to United from Juventus last month, opened the scoring on the stroke of halftime, pouncing from close range after Newcastle keeper Freddie Woodman spilled out a low drive from Greenwood.
It wasn’t spectacular but it was the perfect example of the way Ronaldo, a speedy winger in his first spell at United, has re-shaped himself as a goal-poaching striker.