Irwin: Ronaldo is no ordinary 36-year-old

Friday 03 September 2021 07:00

Manchester United ambassador Denis Irwin believes Cristiano Ronaldo is getting better and better with age, stating the returning club legend is no ordinary 36-year-old.

We were proud to announce the Portuguese icon’s transfer back to Old Trafford on Tuesday morning and Reds supporters all around the world have been celebrating ever since. 

As Ronaldo explained in his exclusive signing interview, his return to United is not about the past: he is entirely focused on the future and bringing even more success to our great club. 

Cristiano’s recent achievements back up the belief he is still going from strength to strength, having finished as the Serie A top scorer last season, ahead of the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku.

Ronny also won the Golden Boot award at Euro 2020 and, just this week, became the all-time leading men's international goalscorer with a well-timed brace in Portugal’s win over Republic of Ireland. 

While Irwin was obviously supporting the Irish on Wednesday night, the United hero was otherwise amazed by Ronaldo’s efforts and our former full-back can’t wait to see him in red once again.

“I think everybody knows that he is a fantastic goalscorer, he always has been and he always will be, and he is getting better and better in that respect,” Denis told Sky Sports News on Thursday. “People might question him because he is 36 but he has really looked after himself, you can tell that. 

“I know Mother Nature catches up with you, I know the Premier League is the most physical league in the world for me, it is 90 minutes of pace, and he is not the same type of player he was going back to when he first joined United, in the first part of his career, but he will certainly score goals in the Premier League this season and I think the United fans are excited about him coming over. 

“We remember he gave six great years, he went from being a boy to a man and he has gone on to do great things at Real Madrid and Juventus, with different techniques and different qualities in each league. He knows the Premier League and I think United fans are so looking forward to it, and I think you saw that with the support at the game away to Wolves last Sunday.”

Irwin’s beloved Republic of Ireland led Portugal 1-0 heading into the final moments of the match, until Ronaldo rose to the occasion to execute two headers that sealed a dramatic comeback win.

When asked about Cristiano’s incredible heading ability, Denis pointed to the 36-year-old’s physical stature and how he has intelligently evolved as a player throughout his illustrious career so far. 

“Well he is six foot two,” said Irwin. “He came to United, you are going back a long time to 2003, as a gangly winger who grew into the game and you can see he went from a kind of player who would take players on quite a bit and, over the years, has become more of a goalscorer I suppose.


“He is a very, very clever player, a fantastic player, who is so good in the air. Unfortunately, we couldn't keep him out last night and they were two fantastic headers, they really were and particularly the first one. It is a centre-forward's goal, it is a header, he knows where the space is, his connection is fantastic and I think all centre-forwards would appreciate the quality of those goals. 

“You have seen he has been the Serie A top goalscorer in the last couple of years and the Golden Boot winner at Euro 2020, so it shows that he is a top striker and he is going to add to what United have got up front, he certainly is.”

Welcome home, Cristiano: