Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United has been ‘perfectly scripted’ so far, according to club legend Sammy McIlroy.
Ronaldo made a record-equalling appearance in the Champions League last night and his goal was the only bright spot from a poor 2-1 defeat at Young Boys. That will be one to forget quickly, in contrast to the scenes at the weekend, where Ronaldo returned to Manchester in a second debut that will be remembered for generations.
And McIlroy, who played over 400 times for the club, has heralded the return of one of the greatest ever.
“You couldn’t have written a script any better,” McIlroy said exclusively to TalkOfTheDevils. “When you think of the publicity, the crowd, the expectation… I’ve never seen a stadium with so many people in it an hour before kick off for a long, long time. It was all down to Ronaldo and he didn’t let anybody down. It was perfect.”
“The way he’s looked after himself , he will help so many young kids at Old Trafford in his present state as well as the senior team with his ability and experience.”
McIlroy has been witness to some remarkable atmospheres at the stadium he played most of his career in, and says the weekend’s game will be rightly regarded as one of them.
“The atmosphere was up there with the great days at Old Trafford,” he said. “Viva Ronaldo was being sung right through the game. It lifted him and I’m sure the rest of the players too as I’m sure his presence is going to do for the remainder of the season.”
The former United midfielder believes Ronaldo’s admission of how emotionally affected he was by the welcome he received was completely genuine.
“Without a doubt he must have been taken aback by the reception,” said McIlroy. “You can’t be anything else but blown away by the reception. It had to have touched his heart. It was unbelievable. Every touch he had was serenaded. To get two goals was a dream – the second was frightening. It was good to see, because in he second half especially we played with a lot of tempo and that suited him. We all know he’s not going to chase back but get the ball in the box and he will score, still, as he proved, on Saturday and last night.”