When it comes to soccer, the words Cristiano Ronaldo and nervous are usually used together only in the case of defenders being nervous about stopping Cristiano Ronaldo.
But the Manchester United center forward admits that he felt great anxiety about his second Man United debut, which saw him score twice in a 4-1 defeat of Newcastle United at Old Trafford on Saturday.
“It’s unbelievable,” Ronaldo said in front of fans still singing his name well after the conclusion of the match.
“When I started the game I was so nervous I swear. I didn’t expect them to sing all game my name. Maybe I didn’t show it, but I was [nervous].”
Hindsight being 20/20, he did show it and so did his teammates. Man United had great energy and all of the ball, but just couldn’t get that final moment to click for most of the first half as a hyped Old Trafford cheered at every touch on a day he would’ve found nearly perfect aside from a plane flying a banner above the stadium referencing his legal settlement with a woman who accused him of a 2010 rape.
“I was super nervous,” Ronaldo said. “I was thinking last night what I wanted, to play good, to show that I’m still capable to help the team. When I started the game I was super nervous. I’m going to give everything to make them proud of me.”
[ MORE: Ronaldo’s minute-by-minute “re-debut” ]
The longtime Real Madrid and short-time Juventus man moved back to Manchester this summer. After reportedly flirting with city rival Manchester City, Ronaldo eventually chose his former club.
Would he have joined City? Probably, but who knows besides Ronaldo? He claims this is the only English club that matters to him and that it’s a unique experience.
“Everyone knows that the football here in England is different than anywhere else in the world, it’s special,” Ronaldo said. “I belong to Manchester. This is why I came back. They treat me unbelievable.”
“Manchester United needs to be where they deserve, it’s to win, to build the team, to build the club and build a mentality. This is what we’re looking for. I’m happy to score goals, I won’t deny that.”
United heads to Switzerland to meet Young Boys in the Champions League on Tuesday before heading to West Ham for a scrap with David Moyes’ West Ham on Sunday.