Ronaldo rewinds the clock with a fantasy brace on his return to Manchester United.
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Ronaldo rewinds the clock with a fantasy brace on his return to Manchester United.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Manchester United defeated Newcastle 4-1 in front of a raucous Old Trafford crowd on Saturday.

Ronaldo has 120 goals for United, but this was his first since departing for Real Madrid 12 years ago, helping Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side to the top of the Premier League table.

United had to work a little harder for the three points than they had hoped, but they were able to depend on Ronaldo's predatory instincts to score twice on either side of Javier Manquillo's well-worked equalizer. After a magnificent long-range attempt from Bruno Fernandes 10 minutes from time, Jesse Lingard completed the scoring in stoppage time.

Since Ronaldo's departure, United's fortunes on the field have deteriorated considerably, with no Premier League or Champions League success since Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013. His return was enough to create a frenzy among the 74,000 fans in attendance, which had not been seen at Old Trafford in many years. Long before kickoff, the 36-year-old was serenaded with songs in his honor, and he even received celebrations for goals he scored in a warm-up shooting drill.

Ronaldo's arrival has provided even more firepower to a lineup of attacking alternatives that Solskjaer already had. In a forward three, Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood flanked Ronaldo, with Fernandes and Paul Pogba providing firepower from midfield. Newcastle held out rather well until Ronaldo's first major moment arrived in first-half stoppage time, causing the party-goers to become restless.

Before the international break, Greenwood had scored in each of United's opening three Premier League games, and he supplied the spark once more when Freddie Woodman spilled his deflected effort and the ball fell perfectly for Ronaldo to slam home.

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