Manchester United confirm Cristiano Ronaldo return
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Wayne Rooney has backed his former Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo to carry on where he left off at Old Trafford, making a prediction that the Portugal star will play until he is 40.
The pair won three Premier League titles, two League Cups and a Champions League together in their time at the Theatre of Dreams as Sir Alex Ferguson’s men conquered Europe.
However, the two have undergone very different career paths since their time in the north West.
Rooney went on to stay at United before departing for Everton, American side DC United and then Derby County of the Championship, whom he now manages.
Critics may say that Rooney could have carried on for longer such was his ability, but the time was right for Rooney’s career to switch to management after a stint as a player-coach at Pride Park.
After all, 35 is generally the age for footballers to make the switch, with other English bosses such as Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard doing the same.
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But Ronaldo is a superhuman who continues to score goals wherever he goes at the top level – most recently being Juventus.
Becoming top scorer last season in Italy’s top-flight at the age of 36, United are signing a player who is evergreen – which Rooney has praised his old team-mate for.
“The last time he played here, he was more of a runner, a great dribbler, with pace and power,” Rooney said.
“Whereas now, he’s a goalscorer. I think his game has adapted dramatically.
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“His ability is obviously one thing, but then he’s also looked after himself massively, he’s still in great condition.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s playing until he’s 40, like Ryan Giggs did, and still scoring goals.
“His team-mates will have to work a little harder.
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“But if it’s anything like last time – towards the last two years of playing with him – the team allowed him to do that because he scores you goals, and goals win you games.”
Ronaldo could make his debut against Newcastle on Saturday at Old Trafford, with tickets reportedly going for £2,500.
And with the Red Devils unbeaten so far, a win against the Magpies looks to be on the cards.
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