Pep Guardiola has admitted that Cristiano Ronaldo is a ‘good fit’ at Manchester United and believes he will still be scoring goals at the age of 75, ahead of Saturday’s Manchester Derby.
That clash at Old Trafford will see the Portuguese goalscoring sensation come up against Manchester City for the first time since his return to England over the summer, having previously departed United for Real Madrid in 2009 after a hugely successful six-year spell.
While the 36-year-old is no longer the rampaging winger that he once was during his first stint in English football, he remains a hugely impactful figure for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, having netted nine goals in just 11 games for the club so far this season.
That tally includes his latest brace in the 2-2 draw with Atalanta in Bergamo in the Champions League, the former Juventus man once again bailing the Red Devils out of trouble after bagging a stunning stoppage-time equaliser to bolster the club’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages.
He will no doubt be seeking to continue that rich vein of form against City this weekend, with Guardiola heaping praise on the prolific marksman for his longevity, while also insisting that he is a ‘good fit’ for Manchester United.
“He will score goals all his life,” Guardiola told Sky Sports. “He will be 75 years old, maybe retired, but he would be at his own barbecue playing a game and he’ll score goals.
“These types of guys, like [Lionel] Messi, like him, what they have done in the last decade in world football scoring goals and goals and goals and helping their team win, it speaks for itself.
“It’s good for the Premier League that he’s back. United belongs to Cristiano and Cristiano belongs to United. It’s a good fit. It was in the past. Maybe it will be in the present and the future. We’ll see.”
It could all have been so different, however, with Ronaldo heavily linked with a move to the Etihad over the summer, before a reported intervention from ex-teammates and former boss Sir Alex Ferguson swayed him to make the romantic return to the Theatre of Dreams.
The suggestion is that a deal to make the move from Turin to City was initially very close to completion, although Guardiola has remained coy about such speculation.
“You have to ask them,” Guardiola said. “Ole said that he could not imagine him to be here. You have to ask them. Do you think both are happy to have each other there? That’s what’s most important.”