Cristiano Ronaldo faces big job to impress Zlatan Ibrahimovic back at Man Utd
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Cristiano Ronaldo will have his work cut out to impress Zlatan Ibrahimovic as he embarks on his second coming at Manchester United.
Fans are hoping to see the five-time Ballon d'Or winner in action for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side against Newcastle on Saturday – 12 years after he last played for the club.
Former United striker Ibrahimovic will also be a keen observer, after he admitted he will watch the 36-year-old wherever he plays.
But Zlatan will be a tough critic, having previously claimed Wayne Rooney should have got the credit for Ronaldo's early success with the Premier League giants.
During his first spell at Old Trafford, Ronaldo won three league titles, the Champions League and the Club World Cup as he began his journey to superstardom.
He netted 118 times in 292 games during six seasons with United, before establishing himself as the game's greatest goalscorer following moves to Real Madrid and Juventus.
A year after signing for the Red Devils in 2003, the Portugal star was joined at Old Trafford by Rooney – and the two often combined to deadly effect.
But Ibrahimovic claimed Rooney did all the work when he was asked about Ronaldo back in 2015.
"These great players, they have their moments over one to three years," the Swedish striker told the BBC.
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"But to continue over five years, for 10 years the way Wayne Rooney has done is not easy. It's pressure every day playing for a big team.
"He runs a lot, he fights a lot, he sacrifices a lot.
"When he played with Cristiano Ronaldo all the work was done by Rooney, but he didn't get the credit because Ronaldo was scoring all of the goals."
Rooney went on to become United and England's record goalscorer, with 253 strikes for the Red Devils before he left for Everton in 2017, and 53 for his country.
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But while Ibrahimovic feels the Derby County manager was the unsung hero of the Rooney/Ronaldo partnership, he admitted he loves to watch the five-time Champions League winner.
"I'd prefer to have him in my team than play against him," he said.
“I’ve not been lucky enough to play with him but I enjoy seeing him on the pitch – if I cannot play with him, I will watch him."
United host Newcastle at Old Trafford at 3pm when the Premier League action resumes on Saturday following the international break.
- Champions League
- Premier League
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
- Wayne Rooney
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic
- Manchester United FC
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