The world record goalscorer got back on the goal trail again on Thursday to help Man Utd bag a crucial win.
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has predicted Cristiano Ronaldo will fire on all cylinders again once he gets back to full fitness.
Ronaldo bagged his first goal of the season on Thursday by scoring a first-half penalty to help United beat FC Sheriff 2-0 in Moldova, which gave them their first points of the 2022/23 Europa League campaign.
“Ronaldo needed that goal,” Ten Hag said after the final whistle.
“Many times he came close [in the season so far], but he wanted that so much. We are happy for him, and the team wanted to bring him a goal. You know that Cristiano will score a penalty.”
124 – Tonight, Cristiano Ronaldo scored the 699th goal of his club career, with Sheriff Tiraspol the 124th side he’s netted against in all competitions – it was also the first time he has scored in the UEFA Europa League. Contribution. pic.twitter.com/NIEtdAR0PU
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 15, 2022
‘When Ronaldo gets fitter, he will finish them’
After missing pre-season for family reasons in the summer, Ronaldo is still working his way back to full fitness and has only made three starts in eight appearances this season.
“We could expect this, when you miss pre-season,” Ten Hag said about Ronaldo’s gradual rise to fitness.
“So he has to work really hard and invest to get the right fitness and then he will score more goals. You can see he is really close. When he gets fitter, he will finish them.”
On Ronaldo’s commitment to the club, the manager added: “I think he’s totally committed to this project and totally committed to this team. Totally involved. You see also connections coming around him and he is constructing connections, so I am happy with that.”
Jadon Sancho scored United’s first goal of the night in Moldova.
Ronaldo and the team will return to action on October 2 for a derby against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.