Ronaldo backed for successful second Man Utd spell by Bale
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Cristiano Ronaldo has been tipped to continue playing until he is 40 by a former team-mate ahead of his second debut for Manchester United this weekend. United fans should get their first glimpse of Ronaldo in the flesh in Saturday’s 3pm kick-off against Newcastle United at Old Trafford.
The Premier League fixture has been hotly anticipated by supporters following Ronaldo’s dramatic transfer from Juventus.
The 36-year-old forward has rejoined his former club on a two-year deal with the option of a further year after United agreed to pay Juve £12.85million (€15m) with another £6.86m (€8m) in add-ons.
Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 games in his first spell at Old Trafford between 2003 and 2009 before leaving for Real Madrid in what was then a world record £80m transfer.
He returns after a 12-year absence as a very different player to the flying winger who excited fans so much under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Some have suggested that Ronaldo is just a short-term solution for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer due to his advancing years.
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But former Portugal international Nuno Gomes is convinced his friend still has what it takes to drive United on for years to come.
“I don’t want to think about Cristiano retiring,” he told Ladbrokes.
“As a football fan, as his friend, and as a former team-mate, it’s lovely to watch him play.
“He sets an example for youngsters, and doing what he’s still doing at his age, he makes me very proud.
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“The day will come that he stops, but I hope he can manage to play for a couple more years, because he can definitely bring us more moments of happiness as supporters.
“He could maybe even play as late as 40, because of how well he takes care of himself.
“I think he now has the understanding that he’s not the same Cristiano as he was in his 20s, so he’s started to play in a different role for club and country.
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“He’s more of a centre-forward now, which means he doesn’t have to use as much energy.
“He’s always there in the right moments, he makes important decisions, he’s brave and he assumes responsibility in big moments.
“It seems easy, but it’s never easy to score penalties the way he does in those kind of pressure situations at major tournaments.”
Although some players are unavailable due to the international break, Ronaldo is expected to be involved as part of Solskjaer’s squad for Saturday’s match.
The forward trained with his new team-mates at Carrington for the first time on Tuesday and is fit and firing following his brace in Portugal’s 2-1 win over the Republic of Ireland in a World Cup qualifier on September 1.
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