No goals, but it’s a winning return to Old Trafford for Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo made a triumphant return to Old Trafford in Juventus’ Champions League clash with Manchester United.

The man who won the competition with the Red Devils in 2008 was facing his old club in Manchester for just the second time since leaving in 2009.

Here, Press Association focuses on Ronaldo’s performance during Juve’s 1-0 victory.

Reception

Rape allegations, which he strongly denies, may have put a black cloud over Ronaldo, but there was never any question of the 33-year-old being received with anything but affection on his first return to Old Trafford in five years. Two pages in the programme were dedicated to the Portuguese star and his name was cheered loudly when the teams were read out prior to kick-off. There was a delay after only a couple of minutes, meanwhile, when a fan ran onto the pitch apparently to try to shake Ronaldo’s hand.

Goal threat

Ronald had scored on his only visit to Old Trafford with Real Madrid in 2013, and also found the net in the reverse fixture at the Bernabeu. He did not make it three from three but did work De Gea. The keeper was unable to hold a powerful, swerving free-kick late in the first half from which Blaise Matuidi might have profited and then produced a stunning save seven minutes into the second half when Ronaldo unleashed a powerful effort from the edge of the area that looked to be heading for the top corner.

Creativity

United were so worried about the threat from Ronaldo that the likes of Paulo Dybala sometimes found themselves unmarked in the first half. Ronaldo played mostly on the left but at times was the furthest player forward and it was from the right that he created Dybala’s goal, with his cross deflecting off Chris Smalling and into the path of the Argentina striker. Ronaldo then set up another decent chance for Joao Cancelo, with De Gea pulling off a good save.

Overall play

It's thumbs up from Cristiano Ronaldo on his return to Old Trafford
It’s thumbs up from Cristiano Ronaldo on his return to Old Trafford

There was never any chance of Ronaldo being anything other than the centre of attention, and his vibrant orange boots made sure he stood out on or off the ball. There were a few trademark Ronaldo step-overs but this was a team performance from the showman, who was happy to drop back when needed and was at his most influential when linking up with his team-mates.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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