Ronaldo returns to hunt another hat-trick and restore hold over Newcastle

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The
24-year-old
goalkeeper
has
the
unenviable
task
of
attempting
to
stop
one
of
the
greatest
players
of
all
time

the
newly
crowned
leading
scorer
in
men’s
internationals

in
front
of
a
jubilant
United
home
crowd.

It
is
a
challenge
that
has
proved
beyond
many
of
the
world’s
best
number
ones,
including
former
Newcastle
stalwart
Shay
Given.


PL
FIXTURES
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RESULTS
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POINTS
TABLE

The
last
time
Ronaldo
faced
Newcastle
at
Old
Trafford,
in
January
2008,
he
scored
three
and
United
hit
six…

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RONALDO
GOAL
GLUT

This
was
a
landmark
game
in
a
landmark
2007-08
season
for
Ronaldo,
still
less
than
a
year
on
from
his
first
Champions
League
strike
and
only
now
establishing
himself
as
a
prolific
goalscorer.

The
winger
had
an
outstanding
19
goals
in
24
games
ahead
of
the
visit
of
Nigel
Pearson’s
Newcastle

days
out
from
Kevin
Keegan’s
second
managerial
stint
at
St
James’ Park

but
was
still
waiting
on
a
first
career
hat-trick.

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Ronaldo
was
without
a
league
goal
against
Newcastle,
too,
and
that
trend
continued
until
half-time.

But
the
Magpies
knew
only
too
well
how
quickly
he
could
take
the
game
away
from
them;
in
the
2004-05
FA
Cup
semi-final,
Ronaldo
was
booked
for
diving
in
the
opening
stages,
then
provided
sublime
assists
for
Ruud
van
Nistelrooy
and
Paul
Scholes
before
adding
a
clinching
fourth
himself
in
United’s
4-1
win.

Sure
enough,
a
second-half
onslaught
was
led
by
Ronaldo,
whose
free-kick
crept
past
Given
for
the
49th-minute
opener.

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Carlos
Tevez
made
it
two
following
an
awful
clearance
from
Given

actually
one
of
Newcastle’s
better
performers,
with
seven
saves

and
then
sent
Ronaldo
through
for
his
second.

Rio
Ferdinand
grabbed
the
fourth,
but
all
eyes
were
on
Ronaldo
again
as
he
chopped
past
Jose
Enrique
and
fired
in
a
deflected
effort
to
complete
the
treble.

“This
is
a
very
special
day
for
me,” he
said
afterwards.
“It
makes
me
feel
very
proud
to
score
a
hat-trick
for
this
great
club.”

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Ronaldo
followed
in
the
footsteps
of
Andy
Cole,
Van
Nistelrooy
and
Scholes
in
scoring
a
Premier
League
hat-trick
against
Newcastle
for
United,
a
record
number
for
one
club
against
another
that
remains
unsurpassed
(matched
by
Arsenal
v
Leicester
City,
Liverpool
v
Arsenal
and
Tottenham
v
Southampton).

A
controversial
Tevez
finish,
which
prompted
Alan
Smith’s
red
card,
had
completed
the
scoring
and
made
this
a
day
of
firsts,
with
no
previous
examples

and
only
one
since,
Hull
City
versus
Fulham
in
2013

of
a
Premier
League
game
goalless
at
half-time
ending
6-0.
It
also
equalled
United’s
1968
record
win
against
Newcastle.


THE
FIRST
OF
MANY

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The
hat-trick
was
not
just
a
first
for
Ronaldo
but
also
a
last

at
least
until
now.
He
did
not
score
another
treble
in
his
initial
United
stint,
although
a
trip
to
Tyneside
a
month
later
brought
two
goals
and
an
assist.

Ronaldo
will
expect
to
improve
that
haul
on
his
return,
though.
There
were
44
hat-tricks
in
his
nine
years
at
Real
Madrid
and
a
further
three
in
three
seasons
for
Juventus.

His
48
since
the
Newcastle
game
leads
players
in
Europe’s
top
five
leagues
across
all
competitions,
just
ahead
of
great
rival
Lionel
Messi’s
46.

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In
fact,
until
now,
Ronaldo’s
final
season
at
United
was
the
last
campaign
in
which
he
did
not
net
a
hat-trick.
That
is
a
streak
he
will
be
keen
to
preserve

perhaps
as
soon
as
in
this
friendly
first
fixture…


MORE
MAGPIES
MISERY?

Ronaldo
is
yet
to
lose
to
Newcastle
in
all
competitions,
with
his
11
such
outings
coming
in
the
middle
of
a
19-game
unbeaten
stretch
for
United
in
this
fixture

their
best
ever
sequence.

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Newcastle
won
four
times
against
post-Ronaldo
United,
however,
while
the
hosts’
long
undefeated
run
at
Old
Trafford

spanning
all
23
home
meetings
under
Alex
Ferguson

was
ended
during
David
Moyes’
tenure.

But
the
Magpies,
now
led
by
former
United
captain
Steve
Bruce,
should
again
make
for
accommodating
party
guests.

Woodman
has
shipped
eight
goals
already
this
season,
becoming
the
13th
keeper
to
concede
at
least
two
in
his
first
three
Premier
League
starts,
although
little
blame
can
be
laid
at
his
door

the
one-time
Under-20
World
Cup
winner
has
actually
prevented
0.11
goals,
according
to
expected
goals
on
target
data.

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The
Newcastle
man
has
matched
Declan
Rudd’s
miserable
record
in
facing
a
penalty
in
each
of
his
first
three
Premier
League
outings,
beaten
on
the
rebound
against
West
Ham
on
the
one
occasion
he
was
able
to
add
to
the
four
spot-kick
saves
he
tallied
in
the
Championship
with
Swansea
City
across
two
loan
spells.

Only
three
Premier
League
teams
have
given
away
penalties
in
four
or
more
matches
in
succession,
but
Newcastle’s
haphazard
defending
suggests
Ronaldo
may
well
get
an
opportunity
from
12
yards
on
Saturday.

Regular
taker
Bruno
Fernandes’
only
miss
in
22
attempts
for
United
was
against
Newcastle,
while
nobody
has
dispatched
as
many
penalties
as
Ronaldo
(84

31
clear
of
second-placed
Messi)
in
Europe’s
top
five
leagues
since
he
left
England.

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On
his
big
day,
who
could
possibly
deny
the
36-year-old
that
sort
of
opportunity?

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