Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praises Cristiano Ronaldo
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Jurgen Klopp has conceded that he was surprised by Cristiano Ronaldo’s desire to leave Juventus in the summer transfer window. The legendary forward sensationally re-joined Manchester United on transfer deadline day and capped a remarkable debut by scoring on his Old Trafford return.
United culminated an incredible transfer saga by announcing Ronaldo’s arrival on August 31.
Only five days before, news broke that the former Real Madrid star wanted to leave Juve. He was then linked with a controversial move to Manchester City.
Some premature reports had even suggested that a deal had been agreed for Ronaldo to join United’s fierce local rivals.
But United stepped in and just 24 hours after news of Ronaldo’s potential transfer to City, the Red Devils announced that a deal had been concluded in principle. The paperwork was finalised on the last day of the transfer window.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer handed Ronaldo a start on his return to the 20-times league champions. But Liverpool boss Klopp was surprised that the 36-year-old even wanted to leave Serie A.
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“Am I happy that he’s at United? No I can’t say that, he’s too good a player,” Klopp quipped when asked by Sky Sports.
“I was surprised by the first rumours. Not about United, but that he wanted to leave Juventus.
“I had no idea that he wanted to do that. Obviously, I’m not in the Juventus circle and nobody informs me about Juventus, but I was surprised about that.
“And obviously City (rumours about signing Ronaldo) and I felt that would be good fun for United.
“But then United stepped in. it’s all fine – it’s a free world. They can do what they want.”
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It took Ronaldo two minutes into first half added-time to score his 119th goal for United, 12 years after his last.
Newcastle United goalkeeper Freddie Woodman spilled Mason Greenwood’s effort right into the path of the United No 7, who duly tapped home.
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Former Liverpool defender Javier Manquillo equalised before Ronaldo scored a second.
The Portugal captain collected Paul Pogba’s pass and drove a powerful strike under Woodman.
A comfortable 4-1 victory was rounded off by goals from Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard.
“I didn’t expect to score two goals. I expect one but not two. I have to appreciate the fans and what they did to me today. I feel so proud for that,” Ronaldo told BBC Sport.
“Of course, I am happy to score goals, I am not going to deny that but the most important thing is the team and the team played good.
“It is unbelievable. When I started the game I was so nervous, I swear. It is normally because I did not expect that they (fans) would sing my name all game.
“I was very nervous but maybe I didn’t show but I was. The reception is incredible but I am here to win games and help the team.
“It was unbelievable moment. I was super nervous and was thinking last night that I wanted to play good and show I was still capable of helping the team.”
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