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Cristiano Ronaldo returns to a very different Manchester United still bettering the rest

Cristiano Ronaldo takes part in first Manchester United training session as club hope for “immediate” impact



ristiano Ronaldo was only in the country for a matter of days and there was already a climate change.

Pictures of him relaxing in the gardens of his seven-bedroom Cheshire mansion looked more like the Algarve than the north west of England.

“Who says there’s no sun in Manchester?” he posted to his 340million followers on Instagram.

Where this man is concerned, anything seems possible – apart from his second coming at Manchester United being made available to television audiences in the UK that is.


United versus Newcastle at Old Trafford tomorrow is the hottest ticket in town.

Fans have paid upwards of £1000 — more than the cost of a season ticket — just to drink in the occasion.

Had events turned out differently the King Power Stadium would have been the subject of the clamour for seats — though, again, Ronaldo’s return would have been blacked out on these shores, with Leicester versus Manchester City also a Saturday 3pm kick-off.

Ronaldo genuinely believed the blue half of Manchester would be the setting for the final years of his incredible career — even if there were misgivings from parties on either side of the deal.

For the 36-year-old there was the concern about destroying his reputation at United — but his desire to leave Juventus overrode those fears.


As for City, Pep Guardiola was uncertain as to how the five-time Ballon d’Or winner would fit into his team. He had not been the driving force of the Premier League champions’ late approach, having been so certain earlier in the summer that Harry Kane would be leading his attack this season.

Sporting director Txiki Begiristain led negotiations, but the feeling was that super agent Jorge Mendes was the one most satisfied with securing surely the last major move of his most celebrated client’s career.

Guardiola, for instance, did not believe he could accommodate both Ronaldo and Raheem Sterling in the same squad — presumably for reasons beyond the No7 shirt Sterling currently occupies. Some believed it was evidence of the City manager’s coolness towards the move.