CRISTIANO RONALDO will reach an incredible 800 career goals for club and country if he finds the net at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
And his strike for Manchester United in the Champions League against Villarreal on Tuesday has almost single-handedly fired them into the last 16 with a game to spare — having scored six of their ten group-stage goals.
The Portuguese has ten in 14 appearances since his dramatic return to Old Trafford.
And yet some still think the 36-year-old unbalances United.
The argument is that his late arrival this season upset Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s best-laid plans. He doesn’t press enough by all accounts to fit into modern-day systems. Football has moved on, you know.
You wonder who starts these theories that people jump on.
The fact is that the toughest part of the game is still something Ronaldo is the very best at, scoring goals, and he has done it 799 times in 19 incredible years as a player.
Nobody senses chances like he does, finishes them so efficiently, or can match him when it comes to heading the ball.
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Few would have smelt the danger and then had the poise to lift that bouncing ball over the goalkeeper for the first in United’s 2-0 win away to Villarreal.
As caretaker boss Michael Carrick said after the game: “It’s what he does in the big games and big moments — when you need something, he’s there to deliver.
“He’s got a cold and calculated mentality, he’s so calm, doesn’t snatch at chances.”
Just think how many he could rack up if United had a bit of creation. Carrick is also convinced Jadon Sancho is about to find the form that saw him provide 53 assists to go with his 49 goals in his last three seasons at Borussia Dortmund.
The 21-year-old had not provided a single goal or assist for United since his £73million summer switch — until Tuesday night when he had his best game in a Red Devils shirt, scoring his first goal in the 90th minute.
Carrick could see that performance coming and is predicting many more like it.
He added: “Jadon has already proven what he can do at such a young age but there is so much more to come and we are looking forward to what is ahead.
“Creation in any team is important and that’s why we brought him to the club.
“Sometimes it just takes time to adapt. He is a young player coming to such a big club in a new league — and it is not easy just to hit the ground running.
“But there is a spring in his step now and you can see in his body language. There is that little spark, let’s hope it gets bigger.
“He’s a terrific player. He is never happier than when the ball is at his feet, going at defenders, creating chances and scoring.
“But the bigger thing for me was the other side of his game — work-rate, mentality.
“He has got a massive future ahead of him if he keeps doing the right things, looks after himself and has the right attitude.”
United at least go into tomorrow’s game with some confidence following that vital European win.
Carrick had an immediate impact, having been put in interim charge in the wake of Solskjaer’s sacking.
He will be boss for his second and final game before Ralf Rangnick takes the reins until the summer, with the club finalising his switch from Lokomotiv Moscow where he was head of sports and development.
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