Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo will definitely make his second debut for Manchester United against Newcastle on Saturday, though played coy on whether he would start.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s return to Old Trafford was confirmed on deadline day and he has been training with his new club all week after picking up a suspension on international duty with Portugal.
Having had a full pre-season under his belt, Solskjaer says Ronaldo is fully fit and ready to take on visitors Newcastle – though the 36-year-old may be introduced off the bench.
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Asked if Ronaldo will start, Solskjaer said at his pre-match press conference on Friday: ‘Everyone is very happy to have him back. Looking forward to Saturday.
‘He has had a good pre-season and played for the national team. He will get on the pitch at some point that’s for sure.’
Solskjaer also suggested he would treat Ronaldo carefully, adding: ‘He knows I’ve got to make the decisions when to play, when not to play.
‘It’s my job to manage him and get the best out of him. I want to see the best out of Cristiano and that comes from communication.
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‘Cristiano is a different player to the one who left but he’s in such good nick still and will be looking in the next few years to play and score as many goals as he can but also to be on the end of crosses and he’s added something extra.’
He added: ‘Ryan Giggs played until he was 40 and I’m not going to be surprised if Cristiano ends up with the same age as Ryan.’
Ronaldo will wear the No.7 shirt once again after Edinson Cavani agreed to take the No.21 – which became vacant when Daniel James left the club – and Solskjaer has revealed that it was the Portuguese superstar who phoned up his new teammate to request the swap.
‘It’s one of these things that Edison has been remarkable, played really, really well last season. Cristiano rang Edinson and they spoke with each other,’ the United boss explained.
‘To pass up his shirt, it just shows the respect he’s got for Cristiano but also Cristiano speaking to Edinson shows the respect the other way. Two top, top professionals and players and human beings.’
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