Manchester United are poised to give Cristiano Ronaldo his second debut for the club when they lock horns with Newcastle on September 11.
The Portugal international returns to Old Trafford as a leader. And fans can expect him to wear the captaincy at times this term as a result, when the likes of Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes aren’t on the pitch.
Manchester United are signing a Ronaldo different to the one who left for Real Madrid in 2009.
That year, he was 24. Not yet in his prime. Not that that had stopped him from firing the club to three straight Premier League titles, as well as the Champions League crown in 2008.
But, the previous season, United decided to make Ronaldo their captain for a 2-0 win over Bolton at Old Trafford. A role he’s expected to get, on occasions, this term.
The Portugal international was in his pomp and scored twice in the fixture, firing his side to a crucial three points in the process.
And, in the aftermath, Ferguson explained his decision to give the forward the role.
“We don’t make a meal of the captaincy or a big issue of it,” he said.
“But Cristiano looks for that kind of responsibility and is very comfortable with it.
“He practises his free kicks. He has a technique but the practise thing is the most important in terms of getting shots on target.
“With free kicks if you get the shot on target that’s one thing, the bonus is can you score? And it was a bonus tonight.
“The important thing was we had the opportunity and the incentive to get three points clear of Arsenal our nearest pursuer and we have done that.
“It wasn’t a great performance but we made a lot of changes and that was necessary because with Rio Ferdinand (back strain) doubtful for Sunday I had to find out about young Gerard Pique.
“We have great confidence in the lad and he has come through it very well and that was important.”
Ever since, Ronaldo has gone on to establish himself as a leader.
He’s worn the armband for Portugal 122 times throughout his career, having made his debut back in 2003.
And, just recently, he etched his name into the record books by scoring the most goals for a single country.
Ronaldo won’t always be captain for United.
But when Maguire and Fernandes are out of action, it’s feasible fans will see him sporting the famous armband once again.
Current skipper Maguire is excited about Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford, admitting he’s one of the best players of all time.
“Yeah, of course it’s amazing,” Maguire told reporters while on international duty.
“Obviously I’m away with England at the moment so my focus is on the game tomorrow but for him to sign back for the club… for me, [he’s] the greatest player to have played the game.
“It’s amazing to have him at the club and I’m sure he’s going to have a huge impact on and off the field and many players can look and learn and improve.
“Obviously he’s going to improve our team as well with his goalscoring record.
“No, it’s amazing to have him at the club and I’m looking forward to meeting him in a few days.”
Ronaldo scored 118 goals for United during his first spell with the club.
And he’ll be hopeful to build on that tally, starting with Newcastle on Saturday.