Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted it was “not impossible” to skip Cristiano Ronaldo as he said the superstar won’t be playing every game this season after his stunning start to life at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo made a remarkable second debut for United on Saturday, scoring two goals in their 4-1 Premier League win over Newcastle United.
The five-time Ballon d’Or, who was serenaded by fans before, during and after the game, returned to United from Juventus last month after leaving the Red Devils for Real Madrid in 2009.
As United prepares to challenge on all fronts this season ahead of Young Boys’ Champions League opener on Tuesday, Solskjaer said the 36-year-old’s minutes will be managed in 2021-22.
“It’s not impossible to leave him outside,” said Solskjaer. “He’s 36. Mason [Greenwood] 19 so it’s the same, I have to manage his minutes and I also have to manage a 36 year old’s minutes.
“The other thing about Cristiano is that he takes care of himself so much that I know he will recover quickly.
“Of course it’s important that we get everyone up and running and make it work.”
– Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 11, 2021
Ronaldo set a new record for the interval between two Premier League games (12 years, 118 days).
His brace against Newcastle came 12 years and 124 days after Ronaldo’s last in the English top division – only Matt Jackson (13 years, 187 days) is longer in Premier League history.
At 36 years and 218 days, Ronaldo was the oldest player to double in a Premier League game since Graham Alexander for Burnley against Hull in April 2010. Alexander was 38 years and 182 days old.
Ronaldo’s arrival before the transfer deadline limited an impressive window of time for United, which also signed Real Madrid’s star defender Raphael Varane and Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.
– Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 12, 2021
“The more quality you add to the group, the healthier the competition [is] and [the more] leader [there are] that they look up to, ”said Solskjaer.
“I think seeing Raphael and Cristiano come raised everyone’s eyebrows because they are winners.
“They have won everything there is to be won and they make demands on themselves that the boys, the rest of the team, look at and think that’s how you stay at the top. So it will only be good for everyone. “