Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo says his return to Old Trafford is not a vacation and he hopes to prove himself again with consistent performances over the next three to four years.
The 36-year-old Portuguese spent six seasons at United between 2003-2009, winning eight major trophies, and rejoined them from Juventus last month on a two-year contract.
Having been handed the Premier League club’s famous No. 7 jersey once again, Ronaldo is hoping to reach the heights he did in his first spell at the club.
“This is why I’m here,” Ronaldo said in an interview posted on United’s website on Thursday. “I’m not here for a vacation… Before was good, winning important things and I wore the shirt before many years ago.
“But I’m here to win again. I’m capable, me and my teammates. I’m ready to go. It’s a good chance for me, for the supporters, for the club, to get one step ahead.
“I think I will be a huge thing in the next three or four years.”
Ronaldo, who has scored 118 goals for United, would make his second debut for the club when they take on Newcastle United in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Ronaldo rejoined United from Juventus on a two-year deal and will be looking to add to his 118 goals at the Old Trafford club where he won eight major trophies in six seasons.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Ronaldo’s return had lifted the mood at United and the 36-year-old, who had “trained all week,” brought with him a “winner’s mentality.”
“He’s been having a good preseason with Juventus, played with the national team, had a good week with us. He’ll definitely be on the pitch at some point, that’s for sure,” Solskjaer told reporters on Friday.
“We’ve got mutual respect for each other, but he knows I’ve got to make the decisions when to play (him), when not to play. It’s my job to get the best out of him, that comes from communication. He doesn’t need me to tell him what to do.
“Everyone is going to look up to him and he is going to be a leader in this dressing room.”
Ronaldo will don the No. 7 shirt again at United and Solskjaer said its former owner, Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani, had no qualms about handing it to the Portuguese forward.
“Edinson has been remarkable, played really well last season… To pass up his shirt shows the respect he’s got for Cristiano and respect the other way. Two top pros, players and human beings,” Solskjaer said.
United will be without midfielder Fred who is banned after failing to turn up for Brazil’s World Cup qualifiers, which the Norwegian described as a “lose-lose situation.”
“The players want to play but we all know what kind of situation we find ourselves in the last year-and-a-half with the pandemic to limit the spread of the virus,” Solskjaer said.
“We’ve worked really hard to try and find a way – private jets, there are ways of getting them in and out – but all of the decisions have gone against the players who want to play for national teams and clubs but not allowed.
“(I’m) disappointed with the whole thing, common sense might not be common anymore. Fingers crossed, some sense comes into people’s minds.” – Rappler.com