The manager of Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes that the impact of Cristiano Ronaldo at the club is like the impact NBA legend Michael Jordan made at Chicago Bulls.
The coach had to compare Ronaldo with the legendary American basketball icon after Ronaldo scored two goals to save Manchester United from recording a 2-0 defeat at Atalanta in a Champions League group stage game.
During the Champions League game on Tuesday, November 2, Atalanta took the lead in the 12th minute thanks to Josip Ilicic’s strike which United’s goalkeeper, David De Gea could not stop.
Cristiano Ronaldo came to the rescue of Manchester United in the added one minute of the first half. He scored the equalizer seconds before the end of the first half.
In the second half, Duvan Zapata restored Atalanta’s lead with a goal that was almost canceled. After over 2 minutes of VAR check, VAR confirmed the goal.
When Atalanta thought they would run away with a 2-1 win over Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo scored the equalizer in injury time to end the game in a 2-2 draw.
The draw kept Manchester United at the top of UEFA Champions League Group F with 7 points in four games, equal points with second-placed Villarreal.
After the game, coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explains why he feels Cristiano Ronaldo is as important as Michael Jordan was at Chicago Bulls.
The American basketball legend played for Chicago Bulls between 1984 and 1993. He took a two-year break from the basketball club and then returned in 1995. He stayed at the club until 1998.
Michael Jordan helped Chicago Bulls to win 6 NBA championships. The American basketball legend got into NBA Finals MVP six times and was NBA MVP five times.
Coach Solskjaer said: “We all have our roles and responsibilities. Of course, Cristiano is a leader in the group but that’s what he does, he scores goals.
“We’re not happy conceding two goals – but he does provide those moments and I’m sure the Chicago Bulls didn’t mind having Michael Jordan either.
“Sometimes teams have the players they have and that’s why they are Manchester United, that’s why they are champions at the Chicago Bulls. You just come up with those moments…
“For me, Cristiano is getting better and better for us. He’s feeling better. You know he’s not had a proper pre-season, now he is getting better and better and he’s feeling up to speed now.”
“[Ronaldo] is one of the best that’s ever played this game. I’m sure this is the same feeling Chicago Bulls got with Michael Jordan…. If you want the ball to fall to someone in the last minute, @Cristiano is the one.”— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) November 2, 2021
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reflects on today’s game. pic.twitter.com/r40ByzwNW5
On his assessment of the Champions League game against Atalanta, coach Solskjaer told BT Sports how incredible Ronaldo was during the game.
He said: “It’s a tight game, flaws both ways. Their two goals are very tight to being offside. I feel for the first, it’s very close to a player interfering with David’s view, and for the second it’s very close.
“But Cristiano is just incredible. That’s what he does. If there’s any chance you want to fall to in the last minute, and a difficult chance, then it’s him.
“He keeps his eye on the ball and his technique on that volley is incredible. That’s football. No one can question the character of these players as they didn’t give up, they don’t give in and they keep going.”
With the two goals against Atalanta on Tuesday, November 2, Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored a total number of 127 goals and provided 70 assists in 303 games.
So far this season, the 36-year-old Portuguese football star has scored 9 goals and provided 1 assist in 12 games.