Cristiano Ronaldo is odds-on to score 22 goals or more for Manchester United in the Premier League this season after the Portuguese legend’s return to the club was confirmed.
He is expected to make an immediate impact for the Red Devils and could make his debut in United’s next match, following the international break, on 11 September when he is 18/1 to hit a hat-trick against Newcastle.
The odds on United winning the Premier League have shortened to 7.413/2 and Ronaldo, who scored 29 goals in Serie A for Juventus last season, is 7.613/2 to be the English top flight’s top scorer in 2021/22.
You can get 12/1 on him scoring 30 or more in the Premier League.
Ronaldo returns a very different player
Ronaldo previously played for United between 2003 and 2009, scoring 118 goals. He left for Real Madrid where he enjoyed the best years of his career, scoring an astonishing 450 goals in 438 games.
He won the Champions League four times with Madrid and is the tournament’s all time top scorer. The last time United won it, Ronaldo was playing for them in 2008. They are 12.011/1 to win it in 2021/22.
He returns to the club where he made his name, 12 years older and a very different player.
There have already been intense debates about how his arrival will affect United’s other players – Mason Greenwood may lose his central striking berth after scoring in all three of United’s league games so far this term while Edinson Cavani will probably give up the famous number seven shirt.
Anthony Martial’s chances will be limited and Dan James looks likely to move to Leeds.
What Ronaldo will almost certainly bring, along with experience, is goals. This summer, he finished as the joint top scorer at Euro 2020 with five. He scored 101 in three seasons for Juventus and remains lethal in the box.
But can United create chances for him? The addition of Jadon Sancho in the summer is a massive boost and Bruno Fernandes should have a decent understanding with his compatriot, even though it was evident at the Euros.
In two of their three Premier League matches in this campaign, however, United have still looked like they lack creativity in midfield, despite the immense talent at their disposal. Paul Pogba played too deep against Wolves on Sunday, in part because behind him Fred had a howler.
Ronaldo’s return will do nothing to solve those fundamental problems but it will be fascinating to see whether his goals are enough to bring the glory days back to Old Trafford.