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star power He is not the Ronaldo of 12 years ago, but he is still a player who has the X Factor


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Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United scores their side's first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United scores their side's first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United scores their side's first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

ALL winning teams need a fear factor and the sight of Cristiano Ronaldo on Manchester United's team sheet ensures they have that all over again.

If I was a defender going to Old Trafford this season, I'd been looking forward to sharing a pitch with Ronaldo... and then fearing he might tear me apart.

Throw Bruno Fernandes, Jason Sancho and Mason Greenwood into the attacking mix, as we saw as United beat Newcastle 4-1 yesterday, and you have a team that are terrifying to face.

This is what United have been lacking in recent years, with the aura they built up during Alex Ferguson's reign as manager lost since he left his post in eight years ago.

Yet Ronaldo's return gives them that spark all again, even if manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faces a challenge to try and find a balance in his side.

Football is all about escapism, getting away from the madness that is going on in this world and taking you to a place that puts a smile on your face and that's what we saw at Old Trafford yesterday. The excitement around Ronaldo's return has been building since he scored those two goals to break Ireland's hearts in the World Cup qualifier last week and as he alwasy does, he delievered when it matters most.

He is not the Ronaldo of 12 years ago, when he tore Premier League defences apart week after week, but he is still a player who has the X Factor.

When his moment came on the stroke of half-time, he was in the right place at the right time to get the goal everyone at Old Trafford was waiting for, except for the travelling Newcastle fans.

It was a great moment as Ronaldo ran to the corner and gave his trademark celebration and it is hard not to admire this wonderful footballer.

His first goal relied on a mistake from Freddie Woodman and the Newcastle keeper would not have been happy with the way he allowed Ronaldo's second slip under him as well.

To their credit, Newcastle did well to grab an equaliser amid a party atmosphere at Old Trafford, but the man of the moment put United ahead again as he showed his pace and then scored at the Stratford End.

Fernandes then scored a sensation goal to make sure his Portuguese team-mate didn't get all the headlines and it was nice to see Jesse Lingard score at the end, but this story was all about Ronaldo.

Some players might have struggled to live up to their billing on a day when all the attention was on the, yet Cristiano is no ordinary footballer.

He is one of the game's all-time greats and the challenge for United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the coming months will be working out how to fit all his attacking stars into this team and find a balance.

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Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial will all want to get a piece of the action and while Ronaldo will want to start every game, that might not be possible at his age.I can see Ole r esting him for some matches and making sure he is available or the games when United will be really tested.

He will want to play in the Champions League at Young Boys on Tuesday, yet maybe that is the kind of game he could be given a rest from, with his presence at the club adding an ingredient that can only help everyone else in that squad.

Amid the Ronaldo show yesterday, it was also great to see Raphael Varane slotting into the United defence alongside Harry Maguire.

He would not have played for Real Madrid for as long as he did if he was not a class act and his arrival has solved one of the big problems Solskjaer had last season.

Yesterday was a fantastic day for Manchester United fans all over the world and everyone at Old Trafford yesterday will remember the day they saw Ronaldo's return.

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