The leap, swivel, and landing with outstretched arms as the Old Trafford crowd roared: If anyone missed it the first time on Saturday—and it's hard to imagine when so many eyes were transfixed on Cristiano Ronaldo—they got another chance in the second half. Two goals, two chances to stage his trademark celebration in a 4-1 Manchester United victory over Newcastle ensured his performance matched the club hype that the English fans embraced with their "Viva Ronaldo" chants and willingness to hand over cash for new jerseys, the AP reports. The megastore has struggled to meet demand for the No. 7 Ronaldo shirts in the two weeks since the star arrived from Juventus.
Ronaldo left United a year after winning his first Ballon D’Or accolade in 2008. The Portugal captain returns a five-time winner, with the chiseled, lean body ensuring not just playing longevity at 36 but a status that transcends Manchester United and the sport. Ronaldo had to wait until the second minute of stoppage time at the end of the first half to restart the goal count left at 118 in 2009. Few goals will be easier, tapped into an empty net after a fumble by goalkeeper Freddie Woodman. It was a moment United fans feared would never happen, especially when Ronaldo came close to signing for Manchester City after he unexpectedly came on the market in the final days of the summer transfer window.
It was a goal only the crowd of around 74,000 could legally watch in Britain. The rest of the world—apart from Afghanistan, Cuba, North Korea, and Turkmenistan—could view it live on television. The peculiarity of broadcasting rules meant this game was blacked out from television and digital platforms in Britain until after the game. Yet illicit Twitter clips of it were showing more than a million views within a half-hour of the score. There was a moment of unease when United’s Javier Manquillo failed to score the equalizer in the second half. But Ronaldo scored in the 62nd, effortlessly putting the ball between Woodman’s legs. And there it was again, the signature celebration finessed during his time at Real Madrid.
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