A full hour after referee Anthony Taylor had blown the final whistle on Cristiano Ronaldo’s two-goal return to Manchester United, the euphoria around Old Trafford was still hard to escape.
Hundreds of fans opted not to leave the stadium until the club answered their demand and brought Ronaldo out for his TV interview commitments.
His acknowledgement triggered more cheers and another airing of the ‘Viva Ronaldo’ chant it had been impossible to escape around the stadium from mid-morning.
Outside, a supporter, well into his 20s, showed off to a mate by attempting the Portuguese’s distinctive spin celebration.
These moments, and indeed those that followed on the pitch a few hours later, are the reason Manchester United swooped to re-sign the Portugal captain.
In the game against Newcastle United on Saturday evening, Ronaldo scored two, marking his dream comeback to the Old Trafford, his boyhood club’s home ground.
The final game of the Portuguese’s first spell with the Red Devils was a Champions League final defeat to Barcelona in 2009 that signalled a changing of the guard in European football in which Ronaldo played a large part.
Manchester United claimed a 4-1 win over Newcastle, with returning champion scoring two of the four, while his fellow country man Bruno Fernandez netting one from outside penalty area. Jesse Lingard also scored one.
Jubilant Ronaldo said “I didn’t expect to score two goals,”
“I expected one but not two. It was an unbelievable moment.” Portuguese legend said.
Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 games goals for United between 2003, when he joined as a teenager, and 2009, when he went to Real Madrid for £80m.
In the next 12 years he scored 551 goals for Real and Juventus before a surprise £12.8m move back to United on deadline day.
“It is unbelievable. When I started the game I was so nervous, I swear,” he said. “I did not expect that they would sing my name all game. The reception is incredible but I am here to win games and help the team.
“It was an unbelievable moment. I was super nervous and was thinking last night that I wanted to play good and show I was still capable of helping the team. This club is unbelievable and I am so proud. I am going to give everything to make them proud of me.
“Everyone knows the football in England is different than in any part of the world and to be honest it is the most special one. I arrived here at 18 and they treated my unbelievably and that is why I am back.” Ronaldo had told BBC sports.