Cristiano Ronaldo’s first goal on Man Utd return in pictures
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Cristiano Ronaldo deserves an apology from his critics after shining for Manchester United against Atalanta, according to Gabriel Agbonlahor. The Portugal international scored twice on the night to secure a draw for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. And he’s now being hailed in the aftermath of the result.
United were poor against Atalanta in large spells, falling behind twice.
But Ronaldo got them out of trouble, with the Portugal international scoring two levellers on the night.
It means the 36-year-old has now scored nine times in 12 outings since his Hollywood homecoming from Juventus on transfer deadline day.
And Agbonlahor, speaking on talkSPORT, has called on critics of Ronaldo to apologise for ever doubting him.
“Whenever they need a goal, he’s there, isn’t he?” said the former Aston Villa striker.
“But how many times are they going to need him to get them out of jail?
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“Why is it always him that has to come up with a world class finish?
“Probably a lot of people need to apologise really about the way they spoke about Ronaldo that he’s going to be the problem.
“He’s the one saving them, he’s not the problem, he’s the one getting them results, keeping them in the Champions League, keeping them in the race for the top four.”
One person who previously doubted Ronaldo was Paul Merson.
But the Sky Sports pundit has now admitted he was wrong, hailing the veteran for his exploits in front of goal.
“It’s got to be one of the best finishes of all-time; it’s just out of absolutely nothing,” Merson said of his late leveller.
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“He didn’t touch the ball in the second half. Not through his fault, he just didn’t get the service. But it comes to him and there’s no snatching at it, he hits through the ball perfectly.
“It’s absolutely phenomenal and his first goal was brilliant as well.
“I was one of the big critics. I was one who wasn’t sure about him coming back. But if you give him chances, he will score goals. Thirty-six or 46, it doesn’t make any difference, he will finish.
“If you took away his two goals tonight, he’s a two out of 10. But his two goals are phenomenal and I’m lost for words.”
Ronaldo was delighted with United for getting a draw in Italy, but feels they still need to improve.
“It was a difficult game,” said the forward.
“I know that when we play Atalanta it’s difficult and we believe until the end that I will help my team get the three points and I’m so happy.
“We never give up and believe until the end. It’s a good result for us I think.
“The beginning was tough, Atalanta have a fantastic coach and they know what to do.
“I knew when I played in Juventus. We did our job well. We are lucky I scored but that’s football.
“We still have to improve. We have different players and different systems.
“We have to adapt but it will take time. We have time to improve.”
Solskjaer, meanwhile, compared Ronaldo to Michael Jordan following the match.
“We all have our roles and responsibilities,” the United boss said. “Of course Cristiano is a leader in the group but that’s what he does: he scores goals.
“We’re not happy conceding two goals. Both of them are very, very fine margins.
“I think the first one should be offside, the second he’s a centimetre onside, maybe offside last season. It’s fine margins.
“But he does provide those moments and I’m sure the Chicago Bulls didn’t mind having Michael Jordan either.
“Sometimes teams have the players they have and that’s why they are Man United, that’s why they are champions at the Chicago Bulls. You just come up with those moments.”
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