Peter Schmeichel hit back after Jamie Carragher said Cristiano Ronaldo could have a ‘negative effect’ on his return to Manchester United. Ronaldo could make his second debut for the club in Saturday’s Premier League clash against Newcastle at Old Trafford.
The return of Ronaldo has been widely hailed as a coup after United signed the 36-year-old from under Manchester City’s noses for just £19million.
Fans are eager to see the Portugal star in action when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side host Newcastle, 12 years after he left the Red Devils for Real Madrid.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been widely tipped to bring out the best in United’s other attacking talents – including Mason Greenwood, summer signing Jadon Sancho and the currently sidelined Marcus Rashford.
But Carragher believes Ronaldo’s arrival could have the opposite effect than intended at United.
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“I’ve never seen so many ex-Manchester United players almost looking love-struck by the sign of Cristiano Ronaldo so it’s a huge moment for them,” Carragher said on a call promoting CBS’ coverage of the Champions League in the USA.
“He is one of the greatest players of all time, no doubt, but I actually think it may have a negative effect on Manchester United.”
United legend Schmeichel hit back at Carragher, saying it was just wishful thinking from the former Liverpool defender.
“There’s a word that you said: ‘I think it will have’,” said the treble-winning former Red Devils keeper.
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“I think you should say, ‘I hope there is a negative effect’. It’s a big, big difference. I don’t think there is a negative effect in that signing.
“I think it’s a marquee signing. It’s one of the best signings that the club has made in 10 years, and it’s something we as fans, we’ve been hoping for something of this calibre.”
Schmeichel played down claims that Ronaldo was past his best, saying the 36-year-old’s goals would make a huge difference to United.
“People say that he’s way past the sell-by date, that he wasn’t as good as he has been when he was at Juventus,” said the Great Dane.
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“But the fact is, in his weak season, which is three years ago at Juventus, he scored 28 goals. Last season he scored 37 goals.
“If you can score half that or add half those goals to a Manchester United season, then it’s going to be a fantastic season.”
Schmeichel also believes the signing of Ronaldo even puts United into contention to win the Champions League, saying: “Because of who he is, the experience he has at the international level, it gives us a shot of competing at to the very end in the Champions League.
“PSG this season, it looks on paper, it looks like an unbeatable team but they have got a lot to prove. And so has Liverpool.”
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