Soccer

Schmeichel bites back at Carragher over Cristiano Ronaldo transfer dig

Peter Schmeichel hit back at Jamie Carragher after the former Liverpool defender said the return of Cristiano Ronaldo could have a "negative effect" on Manchester United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that Ronaldo will make his second debut for United when Newcastle visit Old Trafford on Saturday.

Carragher said he thought the signing of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner could backfire on the Red Devils.

But former United keeper Schmeichel reckoned that was just wishful thinking from Carragher, who spent his entire career with fierce rivals Liverpool.

Carragher told CBS Sports : "I've never seen so many ex-Manchester United players almost looking love-struck by the sign of Cristiano Ronaldo so it's a huge moment for them.

"He is one of the greatest players of all time, no doubt, but I actually think it may have a negative effect on Manchester United."

Schmeichel wasn't having any of it, insisting there was no downside to the signing of Ronaldo.

And the goalkeeping legend believed Carragher was speaking more out of hope than expectation.

"I think you should say, 'I hope there is a negative effect'," said the five-time Premier League champion.

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"It's a big, big difference. I don't think there is a negative effect in that signing. I think it's a marquee signing. It's one of the best signings that the club has made in 10 years, and it's something we as fans, we've been hoping for something of this calibre."

Schmeichel dismissed fears Ronaldo is past his best at the age of 36, pointing to his goalscoring exploits for Juventus last season which saw him claim Italy's version of the Golden Boot.

"People say that he's way past the sell-by date, that he wasn't as good as he has been when he was that Juventus," said Schmeichel.

"But the fact is, in his weak season, which is three years ago at Juventus, he scored 28 goals. Last season he scored 37 goals."

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United boss Solskjaer has confirmed Ronaldo will feature at some point in Saturday's game against Newcastle, although he did not say whether that would be from the start or off the bench.

Solskjaer has been impressed with his early performances in training, saying at his pre-match press conference: "He's been good. Of course, we've followed his career from afar since he left here. I think everyone's very, very happy to have him back.

"He can speak for himself but he seems happy to be back as well. The mood's been very good, working well and we're looking forward to Saturday.

"He's been having a good pre-season with Juventus, he's played for the national team, he's had a good week with us here. He'll definitely be on the pitch at some point, that's for sure."

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