KEY POINTS

  • Ronaldo scored a brace in Portugal's 2-1 win over Ireland
  • He was booked with a yellow card after he took his shirt off while celebrating
  • He could make his Old Trafford return in the Newcastle game

Manchester United are elated as Cristiano Ronaldo has received an early release from international duty ahead of his Old Trafford return, Portugal confirmed Thursday. He could feature in the Red Devils' home fixture against Newcastle United soon after the international break.

Ronaldo, who scored a brace to help Portugal win 2-1 after trailing 0-1 against Ireland Thursday, took off his shirt while celebrating and was booked with a yellow card. In the ongoing World Cup qualifiers, it was Ronaldo's second yellow card and as a result, he would miss Portugal's upcoming fixture against Azerbaijan.

"Cristiano Ronaldo was excused from his stay with the national team on Thursday. The yellow card he saw against Ireland, as it was the second in this qualifying phase, forces him to serve a one-match suspension, which will take place against Azerbaijan.  This morning, the national team captain formed part of the group of players who carried out regenerative exercises in the hotel," the Portuguese Football Federation explained in a statement

Ronaldo, who recently left Juventus and made a sensational return to Manchester United, is yet to make an appearance for the Red Devils in 2021-22. However, with an early release from duties with the Portugal national team, Ronaldo will now have extra time to train and prepare for the Newcastle game. 

The 36-year-old forward's first spell at Old Trafford took place between 2003 and 2009, where he made 292 appearances and scored 118 goals and helped Manchester United win a Champions League trophy and three consecutive Premier League titles. 

Ronaldo wore the No. 7 jersey during his first stint at Old Trafford and made CR7 a brand. Even though Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani holds the No. 7 squad number in the current team, Manchester United confirmed Friday that Ronaldo will don the iconic number once again on his home return.

"As we all know, the no.7 is a special shirt in the history of United. It has previously been worn by club icons like George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and David Beckham. Now, it returns to the man who succeeded Beckham in it, Ronaldo," said Manchester United in a statement.

Manchester United announced a deal to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo on Friday Manchester United announced a deal to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo on Friday Photo: AFP / PAUL ELLIS

Cavani is set to switch to No. 21, the same number the prolific striker wears for the Uruguayan national team.