Will Cristiano Ronaldo hit the ground running at Manchester United? Almost certainly.
The 36-year-old has returned to the club where he made his name and will make his debut, for the second time, against Newcastle United at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo has made a career out of smashing records, with his most recent coming while playing for Portugal when he became international football’s top scoring player.
And now he can add another to his CV this afternoon when he will set a new record for the longest gap between appearances in Premier League history at 12 years and 118 days.
Ronaldo’s last appearance in England’s top flight was in May 2009, against Arsenal, before he sealed an £80million transfer to Real Madrid where he became the global superstar he is today.
He left there in 2018 for Juventus and in the recent transfer window completed his blockbuster return to Old Trafford.
The United star scored 118 goals during his first spell for the club, though his last Premier League goal came 12 years and 124 days ago, against Manchester City in May 2009.
Assuming he scores again, only one player has ever had a longer gap between Premier League goals – Matt Jackson (13 years and 187 days between May 1993 and November 2006).
Ronaldo has also scored 48 hat-tricks in all competitions in his club career – the first of these came against Newcastle, in a Premier League match in January 2008.
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United are a different side to the one he left all those years ago, but his return, plus the arrivals of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, is going to increase expectation to win trophies, with the title being top of the list.
“That’s great,” manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said of the pressure.
“I’ve said it so many times. We knew we had to rebuild, we had to get players experience, get players minutes, play for Man United, because I felt we were at a low point.
“And now I am looking around the squad, the bench, the young players coming through, this is a team – I said it before we signed Cristiano – I don’t think anything is beyond these players.
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“It is now we all focus on, go game by game, knowing that the challenge is there in the toughest league in the world, with two teams that have won the Champions League in the last few years, we know the competition is there.
“There is not a lot of room for errors. We need consistency, we know we need to improve on a few things.
“The pressure is a privilege. At Man United you want that pressure. As a player, coach or manager, if you want an easy life you go midtable somewhere.
“No, we want that pressure. We feel it but that makes you feel alive.”