Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo revealed he ‘knew’ he would score against Villarreal in the Champions League on Wednesday night, despite not playing well in the game.
In United’s first home European game with fans at Old Trafford since February 2020, Ronaldo sealed a dramatic comeback win with a clinical strike in the 95th minute.
United had been largely poor in the game and Ronaldo was no exception. But Villarreal didn’t make the most of countless chances to be out of sight and the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was on hand to decide the match as he has so often throughout his career.
After the final whistle, Ronaldo sent a text message discussing the match and his role to former teammate Rio Ferdinand, who then read it out live on BT Sport.
“[Ronaldo] text me tonight saying, ‘I didn't' play well but I knew I'd score’,” Ferdinand revealed.
“That's the belief that he has. The other players are feeding off it. It's a great place to be. United's performance today wasn't great, it wasn't at the level Ole wants it to be. But when you need a goal, a moment to galvanise the squad, the stadium, the fanbase, Cristiano Ronaldo steps up.
“He wants to be that guy the chance falls to. His goal record says it all. He's there for the big moments. He's a big part of that too.
“When you have a player like Cristiano Ronaldo, the players in the dressing room are given life. There's a lease of life, belief, because they know if the chance comes, he will put them away.”
Ronaldo himself commented that the reception from United fans was what helped bring him back to the club after so many years away.
“This is why I came back, because I missed this club a lot,” he told BT Sport. “I made history with this club and I want to do it again. I want to say thank you to all of [the fans], not only from me, but to push the team, which will be very important, especially this season.”
Ronaldo’s 178th appearances in the Champions League set a new record in the competition, while he has now taken his goal tally since returning to Unitedto five in five games.