Cristiano Ronaldo’s equalizing goal at Man United at Atalanta left Paul Merson speechless

Cristiano Ronaldo’s last gasp at Atalanta left ‘great critic’ Paul Merson speechless as he admits he was ‘unsure’ of his return to Man United… but Arsenal legend warns draw ‘just covers the holes’

  • Cristiano Ronaldo shot twice at home to earn a point for Man United at Atalanta
  • Paul Merson described Cristiano Ronaldo’s two goals as ‘phenomenal’
  • Ex-Arsenal star Merson claimed he was ‘lost’ after Ronaldo’s showing
  • But Merson believes Ronaldo’s ability is just ‘covering the cracks’


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Paul Merson has admitted he was ‘lost at heart’ following Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning performance for Manchester United in their Champions League group win over Atalanta on Tuesday night.

After watching the Portuguese star fire two at home to almost single-handedly save United from defeat to Atalanta, Merson claimed Ronaldo’s eleventh hour-long volley to secure a 2-2 draw for United was “one of the best finishes of all time’. but warned that the result is ‘just another Polyfilla instance’.

While Merson was eager to sing Ronaldo’s praises, the Arsenal legend admitted he was previously a ‘great critic’ who was unsure about the 36-year-old’s return to Manchester.

Cristiano Ronaldo's last gasp equalizer at Atalanta left 'great critic' Paul Merson speechless

Cristiano Ronaldo’s last gasp equalizer at Atalanta left ‘great critic’ Paul Merson speechless

Atalanta would have won the Premier League giants had it not been for Ronaldo

Atalanta would have won the Premier League giants had it not been for Ronaldo

Atalanta would have won the Premier League giants had it not been for Ronaldo

‘I was one of the big critics. I was someone who wasn’t sure if he would come back,” he said air sports.

“But if you give him chances, he will score goals. Thirty-six or 46, it doesn’t matter, he’ll finish it.’

Fellow pundit Rio Ferdinand insisted Ronaldo’s final product justifies his value to United, while Merson added: “If you take away his two goals tonight, he’s a two out of ten. But his two goals are phenomenal and I have no words.

Merson has admitted he was ‘lost’ after Ronaldo’s stunning performance

“As long as you have Ronaldo on the pitch, you have a chance. They hadn’t looked to score for a month and then he’s going to do what he did.’

At the end of each half, it appeared that Atalanta had passed the Red Devils just before half-time with a 1-0 lead and with 90 minutes on the clock 2-1.

But two late goals from Ronaldo in stoppage time at the end of each half showed how impressive the United attacker is under pressure, but Merson fears his heroic ability to win the game is just a save for the underperforming team.

“They have a draw and they are going to qualify,” said Merson. “It’s another Polyfilla, it just covers the cracks, but it’s a result.”

United struggled for major parts and Paul Pogba failed to impress and was eliminated

United struggled for major parts and Paul Pogba failed to impress and was eliminated

United struggled for major parts and Paul Pogba failed to impress and was eliminated

Merson believes the rest of the United contingent failed to use their star player Ronaldo, claiming the striker “just didn’t get the serve”.

United’s line-up had been outplayed defensively for most of the game and visibly mediocre compared to Serie A side Atalanta. World Cup winner Paul Pogba returned to basics but he who was eliminated after 69 minutes after failing to impress.

The draw against Atalanta puts United at the top of Group F and looks set to qualify for the next round of the Champions League.

The Red Devils will look to maximize Ronaldo’s potential when they take on fierce rivals Manchester City in the derby at 12.30pm on Saturday.

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