Following his baby son’s tragic loss on Monday, Ronaldo scored for Manchester United against Arsenal, dedicating the goal to his memory with a touching celebration.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored Manchester United’s first goal against Arsenal on Saturday, dedicating it to his late son in a heartfelt celebration.
The United striker has had a rough week, as he and his partner Georgina Rodriguez acknowledged the death of their son in a heartfelt statement on Monday, while also announcing the birth of their little daughter.
Ronaldo did not participate in United’s 2-1 loss to Liverpool on Tuesday, but he will face Arsenal on Saturday.
Fans greeted the 37-year-old with applause when he came out for the warm-up, and they rose in a standing ovation in honor of his baby child in the seventh minute.
United struggled to get going in the game and fell behind two goals before Ronaldo equalized with a historic goal before pointing to the sky in memory of his unborn child.
After Arsenal took the lead through to Nuno Tavares’ opener and Bukayo Saka’s penalty, Ronaldo neatly turned Nemanja Matic’s cross past Aaron Ramsdale with his left boot in the 34th minute to give United a boost before the break.
Ronaldo declared before the game that he was in the right frame of mind to play, therefore the 37-year-old was involved from the outset, according to manager Ralf Rangnick.
“We chatted on the day he returned,” Rangnick told BT Sport.
“Everything was good, he said, and he could practice and play again. It’s wonderful to see him back in the starting lineup.”
After learning of their tragic news, Ronaldo and his partner Georgina issued a statement saying, “Only the arrival of our baby girl gives us the strength to survive this moment with some hope and happiness.”
Despite Ronaldo’s absence from the game, Liverpool fans honored him with a minute of applause and a rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ on Tuesday.
After sharing a video of the event on social media, Ronaldo commented, “Thank you all.”
On Thursday, he sent out a letter to his followers, which included the first picture of his newborn daughter as well as the rest of his family.
“It is said that “home is where the heart is.”
“We’d like to express our gratitude to everyone for their kind comments and gestures,” he wrote.
“Finally, Our newborn baby girl as well as Gio are now here with us.
We have all sensed your love as well as respect and regard for our family, and we would still seek your help.
It’s now time to give thanks for the new life we’ve given the planet.”
Ronaldo returned to training the next day, and Rangnick said he was available for selection against Arsenal.
The opposition team’s manager, Mikel Arteta, admitted in the build-up to the match that he couldn’t comprehend Ronaldo’s anguish.
“I don’t think I’m entitled to talk about something like that,” Arteta said of Ronaldo’s untimely death.
“You can’t convey or go through grief until you’ve experienced it.”
“I believe what happened the other day at Anfield was unprecedented in our country and league.”
In the encounter, Ronaldo scored his 100th Premier League goal, becoming him only the 33rd player in history to do so.