Who has most to fear from Cristiano Ronaldo's return?

Who has most to fear from Cristiano Ronaldo’s return? He LOVES scoring against Spurs, Villa and Arsenal… but title rivals Chelsea and Liverpool have proven they can shut out Manchester United’s returning star

  • Cristiano Ronaldo is poised to make his second debut for Manchester United
  • Return could come against Newcastle on Saturday or Young Boys next week
  • Portuguese star spent six seasons with United between 2003 and 2009
  • He had an excellent scoring record against Tottenham and Aston Villa
  • Ronaldo also scored six goals and claimed five assists against Newcastle 
  • But he only has one goal against Chelsea and three against Liverpool 

Anticipation is mounting ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo’s second coming at Manchester United.

The Portuguese superstar has returned to Old Trafford 12 years on from his £80million sale to Real Madrid and is poised to pull on the red shirt again in the coming days.

It could come against Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon or away to Young Boys in the Champions League next Tuesday night depending on the 36-year-old’s fitness levels.

Cristiano Ronaldo is poised to make his second debut for Man United, 12 years after leaving

Ronaldo started training with the United squad on Tuesday at their Carrington HQ

The Portuguese star had been in quarantine at his Cheshire home after returning to the club

Ronaldo trained with some of the United squad for the first time on Tuesday having been in Covid quarantine at his Cheshire mansion for five days after arriving in the UK.

But he will only have a limited number of training sessions with most of his new team-mates, who have largely been on international duty, ahead of Saturday’s match.

Newcastle will breathe a huge sigh of relief if Ronaldo plays no part because they are one of the teams he has punished most often in the past.

Ronaldo has scored six goals and contributed five assists in 11 previous encounters with the Toon, including a sensational hat-trick in a 6-0 thumping at Old Trafford back in January 2008.

But remarkably there are quite a few other English clubs who’ve suffered more at the hands of Ronaldo and will have every reason to fear his return to the Premier League.

Tottenham are thoroughly sick of the sight of him after 10 goals and five assists in 18 previous meetings – six of those goals were for United and then four in four Champions League games when at Real Madrid.

Ronaldo has a very good scoring record against Newcastle, who won’t be pleased to see him

He has scored 10 career goals against Tottenham, including two in a 5-2 win back in 2009

Ronaldo also scored four times against Spurs in Europe when a Real Madrid player 

Manchester United’s next fixtures 

Premier League unless stated

Saturday Newcastle United (H)

Tuesday Young Boys (A) – Champions League

September 19 West Ham (A)

September 22 West Ham (H) – Carabao Cup third round

September 25 Aston Villa (H)

September 29 Villarreal (H) – Champions League

United fans will recall with fondness his double in a stirring comeback win against Spurs at Old Trafford en route to the title in 2009. United trailed 2-0 until the 57th minute before smashing in five goals.

Aston Villa, whom United host at the end of September, have seen Ronaldo score nine times past them in 14 previous games and there was only one occasion when he failed to emerge on the winning side.

It is often forgotten after Federico Macheda’s famous last-gasp winner, but it is Ronaldo who scored twice in United’s dramatic 3-2 win over Villa as they closed in on the title in 2009.

He has scored seven times against each of Fulham and Wigan Athletic but that pair will be spared facing him this season as they play in the Championship and League One respectively, though a cup pairing can’t be ruled out.

Ronaldo will be licking his lips when United face Arsenal after scoring six times against the Gunners in the past. Most notably were his strikes in the second leg of the 2009 Champions League semi-final at the Emirates, when he scored a free-kick from an outrageous distance before assuring United’s progress with a quite brilliant breakaway goal manufactured along with Park Ji-sung and Wayne Rooney.

A glance at Ronaldo’s scoring record against English teams also reflects the changing make-up of the Premier League.

He’s netted six times against each of Portsmouth and Bolton, who have dropped down the divisions in the time he’s been away.

Ronaldo curls home a free-kick in United’s dramatic 3-2 win over Aston Villa back in 2009

Here he lines up a famous free-kick against Arsenal in the Champions League 2009 semi-final

Ronaldo’s two goals that evening at the Emirates Stadium guided United to another final

Four goals against Manchester City when playing for United came against a club far removed from the mega-rich version hoovering up trophies today. He did score against them in the 2012-13 Champions League group for Madrid.

Outings against the other big clubs have been less profitable. Three goals against Liverpool includes one at Anfield for Real in the 2014-15 Champions League, his celebrations a magnet for the fury of the crowd.

Chelsea, meanwhile, seem to be Ronaldo-proof with just the one goal and two assists against in 15 games. It must be pointed out, however, that goal was a towering header in the 2008 Champions League final.

Ronaldo feels the ‘love’ of the Liverpool fans after scoring for Real Madrid at Anfield in 2014

Ronaldo’s one goal against Chelsea came in the 2008 Champions League final in Moscow

He’s actually scored more times against the club he’s coming back to. Ronaldo scored in both legs of Real’s 2013 Champions League knockout tie with United and again for Juventus at Old Trafford in 2018.

Wolves, Norwich, Leicester, Leeds and Crystal Palace are among the English clubs to have kept Ronaldo out – albeit from very small sample sizes – and will be delighted if they can do so again later in the season.

The evidence of the last three seasons at Juventus suggests age has barely dimmed Ronaldo’s potency in front of goal with returns of 28, 37 and 36 in all competitions.

The relative strengths of Serie A and the Premier League can be debated endlessly but what is for certain is Ronaldo’s burning desire to haunt United’s domestic rivals once again. 

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