Much has been said about Manchester United’s decision to re-sign a 36-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo following a series of underwhelming team performances this season.
However, the legendary Portuguese forward silenced his critics - yet again - by scoring the winning goal as United sealed a dramatic 3-2 victory over Atalanta at Old Trafford in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side produced a dreadful defensive display during the opening 45 minutes and were booed off by home supporters at half-time after going 2-0 down.
But whatever Solskjaer said to his players at the break clearly had the desired effect because United completed the turnaround in the second half thanks to goals from Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire and Ronaldo.
The latter rose highest to power home an 81st-minute header. No matter how many times people doubt him, he always proves them wrong. It’s quite remarkable.
Ronaldo proves he can still sprint and work hard defensively
Ronaldo has been criticised by fans and pundits alike this season for not pressing hard enough in the final third of the pitch, forgetting this is a footballer who turns 37 years old in February.
But the Champions League’s all-time leading goalscorer was so desperate to keep his side’s 3-2 lead intact during the closing stages of Wednesday’s match that he was working hard all over the pitch.
This clip shows Ronaldo sprinting back to his own half and contributing defensively as the clock ticked down to full-time:
Even before he’d scored the winning goal, Ronaldo was working hard to give his team the best possible chance of ending the night with all three points.
Watch this clip of the Portugal international running back to help out Luke Shaw in the left-back position:
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who adores the Champions League, clearly has absolutely no interest of playing Europa League football after Christmas.
N’Golo Kante would have been proud of some of those defensive contributions!
Let’s check out some of the reaction to these clips from Twitter:
Solskjaer praises Ronaldo's work ethic after Atalanta win
In his post-match interview, Solskjaer told BT Sport: “If anyone wants to criticise [Ronaldo] for work rate or attitude, just watch this game. Watch how he runs around.”
The Man Utd boss - who has alleviated some of the pressure on his shoulders, at least until Sunday’s Premier League clash against Liverpool - is right to point out that Ronaldo is still more than willing and able to put in a shift for his team.News Now - Sport News