After the dust had settled from Cristiano Ronaldo’s dramatic last minute transfer to the red side of Manchester at the start of September, Manchester City fans claimed that they had never wanted the five time Champions League winner.
Now, having played three games, Ronaldo already has four goals for Man United, while at the weekend, City struggled to finish their chances and dropped two points.
Although Ronaldo is in the twilight of his career, his movement and goal-poaching qualities are still better than most.
On Twitter, Utdreport (@utdreport) highlighted that the Portuguese has had the most shots on target (7) since his return to the Premier League.
Most of Ronaldo’s work has happened inside the opposition box in recent years, and so far this season, he has also had the most touches (21) in the penalty area of all the Premier League’s forwards.
United’s weakness is in the midfield area but Ronaldo may be able to mask the deficiencies there by adding crucial goals.
Former United midfield great, Paul Scholes was asked about how Ronaldo compares to Eric Cantona. Cantona was the talisman who helped United over the line in 1993, winning their first League in 26 years.
Scholes stated that Ronaldo is even more committed than Cantona was, saying:
‘Professionally wise, yes. There wasn’t that many foreign players around then. Eric was very similar, but I would probably say that Cristiano was on another level.
“I think Eric did go out and practice but he wasn’t so much a gym person. But Cristiano did all of his practising before and after training, as well as making sure he was strong enough for the Premier League by going into the gym afterwards.”
In 2003, when Ronaldo first came to United, he was a green 18 year-old but the improvement in his game from 2006 on was stark.
Speaking to the Premier League website and via Manchester Evening News, Scholes said of Ronaldo, ‘I have never seen a more professional person.’
The signing of CR7 has been a great boost for the Red Devils both commercially and on the pitch, however, the pressure is now on to deliver the silverware that matters most.
Whether the shortcomings in midfield will hold the team back remains to be seen.