Four years later, the boy from Madeira returns to his Theatre of Dreams

"That is the one million dollar question: what will make the difference? Nobody knows and the world will stop to watch this tie. It doesn’t look a tie. It looks a final. I doubt the expectation can be bigger than this one." - Mourinho

It really is the return we’ve been waiting for. Cristiano Ronaldo will once again walk onto the Old Trafford pitch, the stage on which he entertained for 6 years, where he wrote his name in gold, his former home, wearing the iconic number 7. Except this time his shirt is painted blanco.

This Champions League encounter is one of astronimical proportions, an early final which both Alex and José are hungry to win, a huge stepping stone in their path to lift their third European title of the highest order. And as expected, both tacticians diverted the attention from the Portuguese phenomenon.

But when the whistle blows the spotlight belongs to him and his electrifying talent and ability to change the game in a matter seconds. Ronaldo’s determination is to win, and score; whether it’s from a freekick, an unstoppable lightning fast counter-attack or heading the ball from a corner - a 90 minute constant threat. Or as he put it: 

"If I score against them it would be spectacular, a beautiful sensation."

It’s the perfect return to the Theatre for Ronaldo, and it feels like yesterday that he made his debut, still as a teenager, all those years ago against Bolton. Since that day he endlessly worked to transform into a superstar who many believed he’d become, under the nurture of Alex Ferguson, a man he’ll always idolise and refer to as his second father. And the rest? Well that’s history.

Presently the forward is displaying confident lethal form, which we and Ferguson saw in Real’s 3-1 well deserved victory over Barcelona. And tonight it seems that a goal from his name is already written in the script. But can he handle the pressure of this great stage, when the United fans who still love him, chant his name? Perhaps the emotion will be too powerful, or the opponents will outplay Real, or his 185 goals in 184 games record will be meaningless. Anything can happen.

Welcome back to Manchester. Cristiano is fully equipped, we’re certainly excited and are you ready for another Old Trafford classic?

FEATURED ART BY EVGENY PARFENOV

Posted by Dom, who will be at Old Trafford tonight and will be posting images on Instagram using our #WhereIsFootball tag. You too should get involved in the movement.

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    Saw him play a friendly in San Francisco against !!
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