Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes for Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo admitted his “incredible” return Manchester United had exceeded his expectations as the Portuguese star shrugged to score twice in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Newcastle.
Ronaldo returned to United in a successful move from Juventus last month, 12 years after leaving Old Trafford to join Real Madrid.
The 36-year-old marked his second United debut in style with one goal in each half in front of 76,000 adoring fans.
Ronaldo’s brace was followed by goals from Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard as United ascended to the top of the Premier League.
It was an even better comeback than Ronaldo had imagined during his anxious wait to don United’s famous number seven jersey again.
“I didn’t expect to score two goals. I’m expecting one but not two. I have to appreciate the fans and what they did to me today. I’m so proud of that,” he said. he told BBC Sport.
“Of course I’m happy to score goals, I’m not going to deny it, but the most important thing is the team and the team played well.
“It’s amazing. When I started the game I was so nervous, I swear. It’s normally because I didn’t expect them to chant my name the whole game.
“I was very nervous but maybe I didn’t show up but I was. The reception is amazing but I’m here to win games and help the team.
“It was an amazing time. I was super nervous and thought last night that I wanted to play well and show that I was still able to help the team.”
Away from United for more than a decade as he established himself as one of the greatest of all time during his stints with Real Madrid and Juventus, Ronaldo said he has always retained a kinship with English football.
“This club is amazing and I am so proud. I will give everything to make them proud of me,” he said.
“Everyone knows football in England is different from any part of the world and to be honest it’s the most special. I came here when I was 18 and they treated me unbelievably. and that’s why I’m back. “
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner won three Premier League titles and a Champions League in his six years with United during Alex Ferguson’s time.
Now playing for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – his former United colleague – Ronaldo believes his side can fight for their first English title since 2013.
United boss Solskjaer revealed that Ronaldo delivered a speech to his new team-mates on the eve of the game and the Portuguese striker said: “Everyone has to do their job.
“We have a fantastic team, a young team, with a fantastic coach, but we have to develop confidence.
“The team has to be mature if we are to win the league and the Champions League, but we are on the right track and I am here to help the team.”