Cristiano Ronaldo has been given a new nickname by his Manchester United teammates as Erik ten Hag continues to reunite his dressing room.
The 37-year-old scored his first goal of the season as the Red Devils ran out comfortable 2-0 winners over Moldovan side Sheriff last Thursday – with Jadon Sancho netting United’s other. It was an important moment for Ronaldo, who has struggled to get going this season whilst dealing with a lack of playing time.
He has found himself out of the starting XI in the Premier League, with Marcus Rashford preferred through the middle in recent weeks. The latter has scored three goals in his last four appearances, including two in a 3-1 win over Arsenal in the Red Devils’ last league outing before their games against Crystal Palace and Leeds United were both postponed.
However, Ronaldo has started their first two Europa League group stage games and is seemingly back enjoying his football again and relishing the chance to work with Ten Hag. He has also formed a close bond with one of the new signings, with Ronaldo getting close with Lisandro Martinez.
It was the former Ajax man that appeared to reveal his nickname for Ronaldo after commenting on one of the Portuguese star’s Instagram posts. Ronaldo posted a picture to his Instagram account of him in action during the win over Southampton. As expected, a number of people commented on the post, including Martinez.
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Martinez wrote: “El bichoooo”, which translates to, “The Bug” in English. It appears the duo have sparked a strong friendship in recent weeks and the new nickname he has given Ronaldo has now come to light.
The Argentine has quickly become a fan-favourite at Old Trafford after arriving at the club from Ajax in the summer – with the centre-back playing an important role in the Reds’ recent turnaround in form. Martinez also praised Ronaldo’s performance against Sheriff in their most recent game.
“We know how big Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals are,” Martinez said. “It’s very important that he scored for his confidence and for the team.”
Ten Hag added: “I think he’s totally committed to this project and totally committed to this team, totally involved. You see also connections forming around him and he is constructing connections, so I’m happy with that.”
United are next in action after the international break when they travel to Manchester City – with Pep Guardiola’s side winning their last five matches. They are beginning to click into gear with Erling Haaland already on 14 goals for the campaign in all competitions.