Cristiano Ronaldo is on track to make his second Manchester United debut against Newcastle United on September 11, after being released from the Portugal national team six days earlier than originally scheduled, after setting his world record for goals against the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday.
Ronaldo, who completed a € 15 million transfer from Juventus to United on Monday, surpassed former Iranian striker Ali Daei as the all-time leading scorer at the national team level by scoring his 110th and 111th goals for Portugal in the victory. 2-1 qualifying for the World Cup against Ireland in Faro.
But a yellow card issued by Slovenian referee Matej Jug after Ronaldo removed his shirt while celebrating his second goal caused the 36-year-old to be suspended for Tuesday’s qualifying match against Azerbaijan in Baku.
Ronaldo had planned to play that game and Saturday’s friendly against Qatar in Hungary, but with the record of goals already secured, Portugal coach Fernando Santos has released the player from his squad for the meeting with Qatar so that he can fly to Manchester and extend their preparation time before Newcastle’s clash at Old Trafford.
The decision saves Ronaldo two trips to Eastern Europe and will be seen as a huge boost for United and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Ronaldo has not played for United since the 2009 Champions League final loss to Barcelona in Rome, after which the forward completed a world-record £ 80 million move to Real Madrid shortly thereafter.
But after making his first United debut against Bolton in August 2003, he will now have at least a week of training with Solskjaer’s team before being available to make his second debut against Newcastle.