Ronaldo 'happy to be back home' at Man Utd
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Cristiano Ronaldo is a Manchester United player again. After signing from Juventus on transfer deadline day, he could make his debut against Newcastle on Saturday. But one player he won’t get the chance to strut his stuff alongside is Wayne Rooney, having previously described his old team-mate as his favourite of his career.
Ronaldo initially joined Manchester United in the summer of 2003, moving as David Beckham’s replacement from Sporting Lisbon.
And then, the following year, the Red Devils signed another wonderkid in the form of Rooney – who touched down from Everton.
Both players struck up a strong bond on and off the pitch in Manchester.
And, speaking to Goalhanger films in November 2018, Ronaldo named his old friend as his best-ever team-mate for the Red Devils.
“For me the power of Wayne Rooney is his mentality and strength,” Ronaldo told Goalhanger films.
“He never stops, he always runs, helps the team. He’s a fantastic team player and he scores goals. He scored important goals, for me he’s fantastic.
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“He was the kid of England. Everyone loved him. He is a fantastic boy, fantastic player.
“I used to call him, between me and my mates, the pit bull. I remember when he lost the ball he was so powerful, a strong guy, he shoots unbelievable.
“He scored many goals, what can I say? I miss playing with him. The future nobody knows. Maybe we’ll play one day together again.”
Rooney spent longer at United than Ronaldo did.
The Portugal international departed for Real Madrid in 2009, where he’d go on to win four Champions League titles.
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But Rooney stayed at United until the summer of 2017, when he eventually returned to Everton.
Now manager of Derby, he recently addressed Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford – admitting his old ally is still one of the best players on the planet.
“He’s still one of the best players in the world,” Rooney said.
“I just felt there was no way he was ever going to sign for Manchester City. I just felt it didn’t seem right, it didn’t feel like it was ever going to happen.
“His agent did his job because I knew that the minute there was any hope of him going for Man City, United would never let it happen.
“Yes, he has won titles everywhere he has been so he is going to be huge. He will score goals and I’m sure he will be on penalties [too].
“Where would I play him? As a striker. He’s a striker and the other nine outfield players behind him will probably have to do a little bit more work because when you’ve got someone like Cristiano you want him fresh around the box.
“He still wants to be the best and I’m sure he will have a big impact on them this season.”
Ronaldo, for his part, is raring to get going.
Manchester United is a club that has always had a special place in my heart, and I have been overwhelmed by all the messages I have received since the announcement on Friday,” he said.
“I cannot wait to play at Old Trafford in front of a full stadium and see all the fans again.
“I’m looking forward to joining up with the team after the international games, and I hope we have a very successful season ahead.”
Ronaldo may make his debut when United face Newcastle on Saturday.
The Portugal international scored his only hat-trick for the club in a 6-0 hammering of Steve Bruce’s side back in 2008.
Carlos Tevez also bagged a brace that day, while Rio Ferdinand got in on the act too.
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