I’m sure I’ve not been alone in counting down the days until the end of this dreaded international break – and, most importantly, Cristiano Ronaldo’s homecoming.
We’ve only got a few more days to wait until we (hopefully) see arguably United’s greatest ever player throw on that famous red shirt once again when Newcastle come to town on Saturday.
Sadly, it’s a 3pm fixture so the game won’t be televised, which is a huge shame – but I suppose that’s how it goes these days with TV rights above everything else.
Old Trafford will be absolutely rocking at the weekend, especially if Ronaldo carries on from where he left off with Portugal during the international break – scoring two late goals against Ireland becoming the highest scoring international in history in the process – and gets himself a goal. The place will absolutely erupt.
Ronaldo isn’t the only red who enjoyed a successful international break – Jesse Lingard bagged himself a brace for England against Andorra on Sunday which was great to see. I really hope that spurs him on as he looks to rejuvenate his United career after it looked like he was close to the exit door during the transfer window just gone.
But back to Saturday and Ronaldo’s second debut. I read this week that he only scored ONE hat-trick during his first stint at United, which was against… you guessed it, Newcastle.
During a 6-0 thumping of the traveling Toon Army in January 2008, CR7 bagged his first of 57 hat-tricks in what is one of the most remarkable careers in the history of the game.
Could it happen again? Betfred make Ronaldo 8/1 to bag a hat-trick on his eagerly-awaited return.
I believe age is just a number with Ronaldo. He may be 36, but he’s still one of the very best around and I hope he can lead the charge for my beloved United to put up a proper title challenge this term.
He’s 5/1 with Betfred to finish top goalscorer in the Premier League and, after the summer he’s just had at the Euros, I think there’s plenty of value in that.
Ronaldo’s arrival will also help Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s cause in the Champions League. Of course, there’s the small matter of that starting up next week.
The Reds face Young Boys but there’s some cracking games across the board – Inter Milan host Real Madrid, Barcelona take on Bayern Munich and AC Milan travel to Anfield.
Unsurprisingly, star-studded Paris Saint-Germain are the competition favourites at 10/3, just ahead of Manchester City who are 4/1 to go one better this season – while United are 10/1.
Finally, how great was Magic Weekend at Newcastle’s St James’ Park?
I thought the event was once again a resounding success, and a brilliant advert for our great sport.
It was thoroughly entertaining - from that dramatic last-gasp winner for Catalans against St Helens to seal the League Leaders’ Shield for the first time in the club’s history to Hull KR’s 44-6 thumping of Leigh.