Cristiano Ronaldo’s first goal on Man Utd return in pictures
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Cristiano Ronaldo reacted amusingly after Manchester United beat Villarreal in Wednesday night’s Champions League tie. The Portugal international was the hero, striking late to give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side all three points. But it wasn’t an entirely deserved victory at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo and United went into the game against Villarreal looking to bounce back.
After losing three of their last four matches across all competitions, they put in a nervy performance under the lights and in front of a packed out Old Trafford crowd.
Villarreal dominated for large parts and took a deserved lead through Paco Alcacer, who struck in the 55th minute.
United then levelled through Alex Telles, with Ronaldo then scoring at the death to spark wild celebrations around the ground.
It means the 36-year-old, who returned from Juventus on deadline day after 12 year away, now has five goals from his first six matches back.
And Ronaldo reacted hilariously when conducting his post-match interview with BT Sport.
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When told that he’d ‘done it again’, the Portugal international simply smirked, raised his eyebrows and gave a little shrug.
He was clearly enjoying himself, especially as he initially appeared to be distracted by some of the crowd jubilantly celebrating.
And it speaks volumes about Ronaldo’s self belief, with the veteran completely at ease with his recent heroics.
He did, however, admit the Red Devils weren’t at their best.
“It was a very, very difficult game,” he said. “Villarreal played so good.
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“They had big chances. We found it a bit of a struggle because we knew it before the game, we must win the game.
“It was tough. I think we were a little bit nervous, first half and second half to be honest.
“But we had a bit of luck we didn’t have the last game. We had that today.”
Ronaldo then went on to reveal he inspired United’s victory by boosting his team-mates’ confidence at half time.
“We believe, I said to the players in the tunnel before the second half we should believe.
“And it’s good. I score a goal in the 94, 95 minutes which made me feel very happy.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, meanwhile, hailed his No 7 for his heroic exploits.
But the 48-year-old did admit that his prized asset wasn’t operating at the peak of his powers as they laboured to the win.
“He’s [Ronaldo] done that so many times,” Solskjaer said.
“When you saw him against the Republic of Ireland a few weeks ago [for Portugal], he missed a penalty early, didn’t touch the ball more or less and then scored two great headers in the last two minutes.
“That’s just what he’s done throughout his career. He’s so strong mentally.
“He stays in the game, I’ve seen him all day today, the way he’s built himself up for this game, how focused he’s been and when he gets that one chance, it’s a goal.
“But a true mark of a very good finisher is that he keeps calm when the chance arrives.
“He’s so good in front of goal and he has an impact on everyone – the crowd, the players, everyone.”
Ronaldo and United are next in action against Everton this Saturday.
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