Cristiano Ronaldo says Manchester United ‘adaptation’ will take time after new signings

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a late winner against Atalanta on Wednesday. (Martin Rickett/PA)

Cristiano Ronaldo believes Manchester United are in a period of adaptation since his shock summer return to Old Trafford, but says that he is ready to “sacrifice” to help the team achieve its goals.

The 36-year-old has scored six goals in eight appearances after re-joining the club he left in 2009 from Juventus in August, including late Champions League winners against both Villarreal and Atalanta to ensure the Red Devils stand top of their group with three matches played.

“We are in a moment in my opinion that Manchester [United] do a few changes; they buy me, they buy [Raphael] Varane and [Jadon] Sancho,” the Portuguese forward explained. “The adaptation will take time, even the system of the game that we play, but I think step by step we have to put it in our mind that everything is possible.”

Ronaldo has won five Ballon d’Or awards in his career so far and was the Serie A Footballer of the Year in both 2019 and 2020, but says his focus is on success with the team first and foremost.

“I don’t speak only about my individual stuff, I put the collective in first place. To win things as a collective, it’s more easy to win individual stuff, I still think it’s possible.

“Everyone should know their role. I know my role in the team, in the club… my role is to score goals, to help the team with my experience and know-how to understand the game. If everyone is thinking like that, sacrifice for the team, I think we will be a better team. We have fantastic supporters behind us, fantastic stadium, fantastic team, so we have to carry on like that.”

The former Real Madrid star became the highest goalscorer in men’s international football history earlier this year thanks to a late double in a turnaround victory over the Republic of Ireland, and has no plans to stop playing for Portugal any time soon.

“I think it’s not my time [to retire from international duty] yet, he said. “It’s not [about] what people want, it’s what I want. It’s when I feel that I’m not capable to run, to dribble, to shoot, if the power is gone… but I still have that stuff so I want to continue because I’m still motivated.

Furthermore, Ronaldo believes he has still has the ability to improve his game in the years to come.

“It’s the main word — [motivated] to do my stuff, to make people happy and my family happy and the fans and myself. I want to put the level even higher. You speak about Portugal but in the Champions League I have the most goals, the most wins, assists… everything. But I want to carry on. I like to play football. I feel good to make people happy.”

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