Cristiano Ronaldo made a memorable return to Manchester United, bagging a brace to lead them to a 4-1 win over Newcastle United at Old Trafford.

The atmosphere at Old Trafford was rapturous well before the kick-off and it only kept getting more lounder and electric as the anticipation for the return of Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United built. And, the fans got what they wanted, as the Portuguese superstar broke the deadlock for the home team on the cusp of half-time, stroking home from point-blank range, showcasing his poacher’s instincts.

Newcastle, though, had posed a threat on the break in the first half and another such counter after half-time allowed them to equalise through Javi Manquillo. Old Trafford continued to roar, though, and Ronaldo, once again, did what he does best, finding the back of the net with a precise finish between the legs of Freddie Woodman after being played in by Luke Shaw, to make it 2-1.

While the fans yearned for a hattrick from their icon, it was another Portuguese who was on target as Bruno Fernandes unleashed a stunning long-range effort to make it 3-1 and put the result to bed. Late on, substitute Jesse Lingard added more sheen to the scoreline with a lovely finish after some neat work by Paul Pogba and a brilliant dummy by Anthony Martial.

It was as perfect a homecoming for Ronaldo as it could have gotten, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men bagging a huge win, him getting among the goals, and the team showing the ability to unlock a stubborn defence. And, here are our player ratings for the Manchester United stars after they moved to the top of the Premier League standings with the resounding victory.

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David de Gea: 6.5/10

Did not have a lot to do more large parts of the contest, but showed good alertness to stop Joelinton’s fierce effort in the second half and another long-range effort from Jacob Murphy. Not a lot he could have done to stop Manquillo’s strike, though. Played a role in the lead-up to the third goal with a good release to find Mason Greenwood.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 5/10

Not good enough. Had space to exploit going forward but delivery, apart from one dangerous cross early in the second half, was very sub-par. Defensively, too, the former Crystal Palace man found it hard against the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron.

Raphael Varane: 7/10

Another step in the right direction from the new recruit. Won everything in the air in the first half, was strong in duels and used the ball well. Left exposed by his partner for the goal which was the only blemish on a solid display. Almost scored at the other end as well.

Harry Maguire: 5/10

Reliable for large parts, the Manchester United captain’s decision to dive on Miguel Almiron in at the halfway mark on the pitch was poor and cost the team the equalising goal. Was good on the ball, but needs to be more disciplined in the moments like the one that led to the goal.

Luke Shaw: 7/10

Did not have the best of starts, but grew into the game with time and started to pose a threat with his driving runs. One such run led to the second goal for Ronaldo as he got the assist with a nice-looking through pass. Should form a dangerous partnership with the Portuguese if he gets his crossing radar going properly.

Paul Pogba: 7.5/10

Given time on the ball by the opposition, Pogba often dictated the play for Manchester United while he constantly looked to carve out openings in the Newcastle backline. Got the assist for Fernandes’ goal before displaying some fine footwork before setting Lingard up for the fourth. Seven assists in four games!

Nemanja Matic: 6/10

Getting the nod ahead of Fred despite the Brazilian’s availability, Matic did his job fairly well. Cut out attacks more often than not, progressed upfield with the ball. However, there were occasions when he just could not come to terms with the pace of the likes of Saint-Maximin and Almiron, which should be a concern.

Mason Greenwood: 7/10

Looked likely to make things happen and forced the opening goal as it was his shot that Woodman spilled, allowing Ronaldo to score from the rebound. Had a part in the third goal as well. May not have scored in a fourth consecutive game, but continues to be critical to the team.

Bruno Fernandes: 7.5/10

Not at his buzzing best, but did show glimpses of quality in his link-up with Ronaldo, which will bode well for Manchester United. Put the result beyond doubt with a scintillating strike from outside the box. Is now the joint top-scorer in the Premier League for the 2021/22 season.

Jadon Sancho: 5/10

The summer signing is still coming to grips with life in the Premier League. There were a few moments when he showed his ball control and skills, but the end product was not always there. Patience will be needed.

Cristiano Ronaldo: 8/10

Couldn’t have written it any better. Ronaldo, returning to Old Trafford, scoring two vital goals at critical junctures of the game, to lead the team to a big win – it is almost like he never even left. Showed his killer instincts to pounce on the mistake from Woodman to open the scoring. Then, displayed great movement and clinical finishing for his second. Created a chance for a teammate as well. Exciting times ahead for the Old Trafford faithful.

SUBSTITUTES

Jesse Lingard: 7/10

Replaced Sancho in the 66th to make his second appearance of the season. Great first touch and fine finish to make it 4-1.

Donny van de Beek: N/A

On for Mason Greenwood in the 85th minute to make his first appearance of the new season. Involved in the buildup to the fourth goal.

Anthony Martial: N/A

Came on for Bruno Fernandes and played a role in the fourth with a lovely dummy.

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