Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hints Cristiano Ronaldo could BEGIN his second Old Trafford debut and insists returning hero will be ‘FINALLY’ present in Newcastle clash
- Manchester United meet Newcastle at Old Trafford in the Premier League
- Saturday’s game is set to host Cristiano Ronaldo’s second United debut
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted Ronaldo could even play from the start
- The Norwegian boss also started as manager of the icon in his early days
Cristiano Ronaldo will make his second Manchester United debut against Newcastle at Old Trafford on Saturday, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed.
The Norwegian boss has declined to say whether Ronaldo will start his first game for the club in 12 years, but praised the 36-year-old Portuguese star for his fitness.
Ronaldo wants to start against Newcastle after four days of training in Carrington following a £19.8m transfer from Juventus, but Solskjaer insists he will make the final decision.
Cristiano Ronaldo lined up to start against Newcastle for Manchester United on Saturday
The Portuguese icon finally signed his contract with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (R) on Wednesday
“He will definitely be on the pitch someday, that’s for sure,” said the United boss. “He has had a good preparation at Juventus, he has played with the national team and had a good week with us.
“We have mutual respect for each other, but he knows that I have to make the decisions when I play against him and when not. My job is to manage him.
“I want to get the best out of Cristiano and that’s because of communication. We spent a few years together at the club and we know each other. He doesn’t need me to tell him what to do, he’s already had the determination and desire to be the best.
“Ryan Giggs played until he was 40 and I wouldn’t be surprised if Cristiano lives up to Ryan’s age.
Ronaldo and Solskjaer’s careers overlapped in the 1990s when the former began its rise
Ronaldo wants to start against Newcastle and play his first Premier League game since 2009
“Cristiano will come back just like he behaved this week, we know what he has achieved in his career but he wants to achieve more.
‘He makes demands. He has lived his life with the discipline of a top professional. Since I got here, he was the first to get the prep right – 45 minutes before practice every day and we started looking at this guy. He will have an effect on all players.
“It’s like bringing in Rapahel (Varane), he brought a winning mentality. There’s no place to hide with winners like them, you can’t go in 95 percent focused. It was great to have him in.’
Solskjaer also praised Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani for handling the five-time Ballon d’Or winner who took back the iconic United No.7 shirt.
The Portuguese star wants to match Ryan Giggs (center) by playing until he hits 40
Cavani wore it last season but will switch to number 21 – his number for Uruguay – after Dan James’ move to Leeds.
“Edinson was remarkable and played very well last season,” Solskjaer added. “Cristiano is talking to Edinson and by giving up his shirt he shows the respect he has for Cristiano and respect for the other side. They are two top professionals, players and people.’
Jadon Sancho is also available to take on Newcastle, but Solskjaer confirmed that Scott McTominay, Alex Telles and Dean Henderson are unlikely to see action after recovering from injury and illness.