Manchester United: How Ronaldo can bring back the Old Trafford fear factor

Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images) /

Cristiano Ronaldo had his triumphant return to Manchester United and Old Trafford at the weekend, scoring a brace in a 4-1 victory vs Newcastle United.

Ronaldo’s first goal was a tap in, from a rebound off Newcastle keeper Freddie Woodman, nonetheless, the Portuguese sent the United fans into raptures as he brought out his trademark celebration by the corner flag.

Although Manchester United have had a positive start to the season, the return of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner could be the key to taking them to the next level.

All English Premier League
All English Premier League /

All English Premier League

Ronaldo’s early days at Manchester United

Ronaldo first joined the Red Devils in 2003, making his debut as a substitute against Bolton Wanderers. He joined a squad that included the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Diego Forlan and Rio Ferdinand, just coming off a Premier League title, in the year before.

In his first spell at the club, United would go on to win 3 more Premier League titles, a UEFA Champions League, two League Cups and an FA Cup.

Ronaldo would move on in 2009, but the Manchester club would go on to win another four league titles before Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2014.

Since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, the club has been missing an X-factor

Since then the club has been in limbo, reaching few finals, going through three managers and winning just two trophies.

During Ferguson’s reign, Old Trafford was a place that was feared by the majority of teams; few teams would go there and score, most of the time teams would travel to Manchester, and play their game well, but would lose three or four nil.

Since the Scotsman walked away, United’s home ground has become a place for teams to pick up scalp victories, with Sheffield United and Burnley, being two teams to leave with three points in recent memory – for the former, it was their first win at Old Trafford in 48 years.

Age is not slowing Ronaldo down

Though 36, Ronaldo can be the catalyst to bring that fear back to the “Theatre of Dreams”. Manchester United’s team has been vastly improved this year but was still calling out for a true goalscorer and the Portuguese is undoubtedly that.

The forward also represents the leader that has been needed in this squad. It’s sometimes argued that this team lacks direction, but in Ronaldo’s first game, the likes of Jadon Sancho and Paul Pogba stepped their games up and showed a real drive to get three points.

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Having a player like Ronaldo will obviously raise expectations, but he can make Manchester United work, and make teams hate going to Old Trafford once again.