The Return of Cristiano Ronaldo

The atmosphere was thick with nostalgia and orgiastic camaraderie as Manchester United fans reminisced on what once was and day dreamed about what may now come to be with the return of their long lost prodigal son Cristiano Ronaldo. Arguably the best to ever set foot on a football pitch, the 36 year old 5 time Ballon d’Or winner seems to not be slowing down and certainly has not lost a step. If anything, he’s gotten better. Much better in terms of his knowing when to attack, when to layoff, when to poach, and what angle to run. His pace has not left him. His finishing is even more sublime. He can bag you on a free kick, and he doesn’t feel pressure from the penalty spot. Nutmegs, diving headers, remarkable pass reception skills, you name it- Cristiano Ronaldo can do it all.

The guy is a generational goal scoring machine and he didn’t disappoint this match day by putting up a 2 goal brace in his first game at Old Trafford wearing the home colors of the Red Devils since he left for Real Madrid back 12 years ago. He could have easily gotten his 49th hat trick as a member of United but the Newcastle keeper had something to say about that. When he suddenly became available and was supposedly headed to the other side of Manchester right before the summer transfer deadline and World Cup qualifier international break, hearts and minds on the red side of the city were confused and sickened. Discussions between the player and Pep had occurred. Ronaldo wanted to make the switch to play for City, and negotiations were in the advanced stages. How could an original son of United end up possibly finishing his career out wearing the sky blue shirt of their arch rivals? How could he betray all of the good will and love those fans had for him?

Consistent English Premier League trophies and Champions League titles have eluded the proud global Man United diaspora since Ronaldo left. I never for one moment let myself believe that the deal for him to go to City was finalized and would go through like the media was saying. “Done deal” my backside, I knew that Ronaldo’s ex-United teammates would call and text to harass him to let him know what displeasure would be unleashed upon him from them and the fans if he committed such an unspeakable unforgivable act of joining the enemy. The texts and phone calls worked. Ronaldo changed his mind and opted for a joyous return to his old club rather than joining Pep’s side to chase certain quadruple glory. What a blow to City who desperately need a center forward, what a winfall for United who look to be a real title contender in England and Europe so far this season.

Now that CR7 himself has returned, one can’t help but to believe that this emotional momentum and added goal scoring prowess could turn into pure magic in Manchester and possibly propel them back on top of the world stage, where they once resided for so long.

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