Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed that fans will definitely get their first glimpse of Cristiano Ronaldo in action during Saturday’s meeting with Newcastle United.
Ronaldo has been in England all week after returning from international duty early to get a head-start on his quarantine, and he has been involved in training since Tuesday with a view to making his second debut against the Magpies.
Ahead of the game, Solskjaer refused to reveal whether Ronaldo would start or come on from the bench, but he did confirm that the 36-year-old will feature in some capacity.
“He’s been having a good pre-season with Juventus, he’s played for the national team, he’s had a good week with us here,” Solskjaer told a press conference. “He’ll definitely be on the pitch at some point, that’s for sure.
“He’s been good. Of course, we’ve followed his career from afar since he left here and everyone’s very happy to have him back. He can speak for himself, but it seems like he’s happy to be back as well. The mood has been very good, he’s worked well and we’re looking forward to Saturday of course.”
Unsurprisingly, the press conference revolved almost exclusively around Ronaldo. Solskjaer was asked for any insight on the Portugal man’s role in the team, but he did his best not to give too much away.
“Everyone evolves and develops throughout their career,” he continued. “Of course Cristiano is a different player to the one who left but he’s in such good nick still, he’ll be looking at the next few years to play as much as he can, score as much as he can.
“He’s a threat from direct set plays himself but also to be on the end of crosses. He’s adding something extra that we haven’t got. His skillsets in the team, the mix of his skillsets, well, no one has [those] really, because he’s one of the best players that has ever played the game.
“He’s lived his life with the discipline of a top, top professional. Ever since he came here, I remember, he was the first one who did the prep really well. Every day, 45 minutes before the training session, you started looking at this kid doing this before training, and he’ll have the same effect with these players.
“Even though the group… we have grown as a group over the last few years, the determination, focus, desire has improved over time, bit by it. Even bringing Raphael [Varane] in, he’s come in with a winners’ mentality, an unbelievable focus, but of course Cristiano comes in and there’s no place to hide when you’ve got winners like them. You can’t go into training and give 95 per cent and not be focused and that’s what he demands from everyone else.”