By offering Manchester United an all-important win (3-2) with a hat-trick against Tottenham this Saturday, Cristiano Ronaldo not only left the Red Devils to remain in a good position for fourth place in the Premier League: he also wrote his name a little more in the legend by reminding the football world that he remains this monster thirsty for goals and exploits, even at the age of 37.
Minutes before the kick-off between Manchester United and Tottenham, the questions about Cristiano Ronaldo (absent for the Manchester derby, last weekend) were many: does he still have his head in Manchester, is he still able to shake opponents while he is up to 2022? has scored only one pawn so far? According to some, the hour of retirement had even come for the five-time Ballon d’Or. So many questions swept away in 83 minutes by Portuguese legend: a screamer from 25 meters to clear Hugo Lloris’ skylight, a clinical finish to conclude a rare collective move at MU and a head full of fury above the pack on a corner to seize a precious success. Before he left two minutes later to Old Trafford’s ovation, doubts were allayed. Like LeBron James, who at age 37 plays two games of 50 points or more in a week on the NBA floors across the Atlantic at age 37, CR7 at the same age continues to take age for a vague notion and writes a new page with his exceptional career.
Back to basic
With the absence (announced, but ultimately avoided) of David de Gea and the fear of a Covid epidemic just before the meeting, the MU locker room needed a leader who could reboot the machine. And who better than CR7 to take on this role? After a few weeks of hindrance, the latter had even taken a few days to recharge his batteries in Portugal after the derby, as if to get away from the noxious atmosphere stagnant in Manchester. A useful return to the country that inspired even Ralf Rangnick, his coach, after meeting the tracks† “We joked that it might be a good idea to send him to Portugal for three days if he hasn’t trained for two days, and have him train again on Thursday.explained the German tactician at a press conference. On Thursday he trained at a similar level. That’s why after that training I decided to play him from the beginning, even though he was out for a week. Maybe we should do it for the rest of the season. †
Ronaldo’s performance, the best since Rangnick’s arrival on the Old Trafford bench according to the latter, is also visible through the prism of statistics: 56 balls hit, 9 shots (5 on target), 41 passes from 42 and an xG to 1… for 3 pawns. What annoys Antonio Conte, the Tottenham coach. “We are talking about a player who is always decisive and who has always been in his career, he has shown what type of player he is. Without Ronaldo it would have been difficult for Manchester United to win and even draw. lamented the Italian at the BBC microphone, still stunned by this defeat.
The trivialization of the supernatural
But the reality is there: Cristiano Ronaldo has further cemented his legendary status, scoring his second goal this Saturday, in addition to restoring the advantage for the Red Devils on the heels of Harry Kane’s equalizing goal, was mostly the 806and pawn of his career in an official game. In other words, one more, according to FIFA, than the record held by Czech Josef Bican for 65 years. While this is totally controversial, CR7 has therefore become the most prolific goalscorer in the history of modern football, already number one in the national squads (115) and in the Champions League (140). With a tally currently showing 807 goals, Cristiano Ronaldo has had a string of appearances so stratospheric that they would have become mundane.
49 – Cristiano Ronaldo (37 years 35 days) scored the 49th hat-trick of his club career, becoming the second oldest player to score 3 goals in a Premier League game, behind Teddy Sheringham in August 2003 (at 37 years and 146 days ). Deafening. #CURRENCY pic.twitter.com/cp7WyvEG0D
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) March 12, 2022
But isn’t it ultimately blasphemous to downplay the fact that a 37-year-old man is wearing his team in such a way this season? with 18 goals (12 in the Premier League, 6 in C1) in 32 games since his return to England last summer, Ronaldo has with him a very fragile Manchester United 2021-2022. Even though the team would have to bet on Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho whose performances are far too erratic. So there is no need to resist the pleasure of witnessing another feat of Cristiano Ronaldo. In a round of 16 return against Atlético de Madrid, one of his favorite prey for example.
By Fabien Gelinat