Cristiano Ronaldo was the star attraction as Manchester United travelled to Moldova to face Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League on Thursday night.
The legendary forward, regarded by some as the greatest footballer in history, showed that his influence is unrivalled during the trip.
Ronaldo netted his first goal of the season in Man Utd’s 2-0 victory. The Portugal international doubled the Red Devils’ advantage from the penalty spot in the 39th minute after Jadon Sancho had put the visitors 1-0 up earlier in the first half.
Video: Ronaldo takes young fan on Man Utd bus to meet team
Prior to the match there was a lovely moment involving a young fan wearing a Ronaldo shirt, who made a dash past security to meet his idol.
Cristiano gave the little lad a hug before taking him onto the team bus to meet the other United players.
That one simple gesture will stay with that boy for the rest of his life.
Watch the footage here:
Cristiano Ronaldo hugs a little boy and takes him into the Manchester United team bus to meet the other players.— The CR7 Timeline. (@TimelineCR7) September 15, 2022
What a man. ❤pic.twitter.com/VHj55g8bXG
Several hours later, Ronaldo scored from the spot before delighting the crowd with a rendition of his trademark ‘SIUUU’ celebration.
Video: Sheriff fans join in with Ronaldo’s SIUUU celebration
Footage shows the whole crowd joined in with his celebration:
The whole Sheriff crowd shouted SIUUUUUUU with Ronaldo— CR7 Rap Rhymes (@cr7raprhymes) September 15, 2022
They don't care he scored against them 😭pic.twitter.com/FbG8e1HZdJ
Scott McTominay couldn’t resist getting in on the act, too:
Mctominay saying Siuuu. 😂❤pic.twitter.com/DusfFZaKbp— The CR7 Timeline. (@TimelineCR7) September 15, 2022
Ronaldo played 81 minutes before being subbed off for Anthony Elanga.
What a picture. pic.twitter.com/tU0I9bD2Pp— The CR7 Timeline. (@TimelineCR7) September 15, 2022
Sheriff players take their chance to meet Cristiano Ronaldo
But Sheriff’s players were keen to grab a photo or a signed shirt from the superstar after the match.
Midfielder Mudasiru Salifu tweeted a photo of himself and Man Utd’s No. 7 alongside the caption: “Nice meeting you legend” followed by the goat emoji.
While Brazilian winger Pernambuco, who came on for the final 15 minutes, managed to get a Ronaldo shirt signed by the legend himself.
“The dream has come true,” he wrote on social media, “to compete in a world-famous competition, in front of many world football stars and among them is my biggest reference in football, thanks for the simplicity and gift Cristiano.”
Pernambuco (Sheriff player):— The CR7 Timeline. (@TimelineCR7) September 16, 2022
"The dream has come true, to compete in a world-famous competition, in front of many world football stars and among them is my biggest reference in football, thanks for the simplicity and gift Cristiano" pic.twitter.com/n4ebBUh2Wc
What did Cristiano Ronaldo say after Sheriff 0-2 Man Utd?
Ronaldo, 37, wanted to continue playing in the Champions League this season but clearly doesn’t feel that playing in the Europa League is beneath him.
Writing on social media after the match, Ronaldo said: “Happy to score and help the team win! 3 important points! Well done lads.”
Happy to score and help the team win! 3 important points!— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) September 15, 2022
Well done lads 👏🏽💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/Gb7mTJcqqd
Even if he doesn’t play week-in week-out this season, it’s clear that Ronaldo still has a big role to play at Old Trafford between now and May.
And he continues to set an example to the club’s younger players with his exemplary work ethic and professionalism.
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Cristiano Ronaldo?
Sheriff 0-2 Man Utd – Reaction (Football Terrace)