Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Cristiano Ronaldo will likely play until his forties, while joking he sent a letter to the Premier League with an odd request.
United will face Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Saturday midday, with Dean Smith promising his side will face Solskjaer’s men.
Solskjaer’s men have collected 13 points so far – a “decent return, ”according to the United boss. But the Norwegian admitted: “We have scored quite a few goals. There are still things to work on and there will be bigger challenges ahead, but we’ve laid the groundwork to build momentum.
And one of the things he would like to improve is to stop conceding the first goal.
Solskjaer said with a smile: “I sent a letter to the Premier League asking if we can start the games 1-0. This will make our job much easier.
“All kidding aside, it’s a big, big part of the game and we have to start better. We can’t expect to come back and win games like we’ve done fantastically over the last 12, 14, 15 months, but it’s going to catch up with us. “
During this time, Ronaldo is expected to lead the line against Villa with Edinson Cavani back on the bench.
The 36-year-old has scored four goals in three games since returning to his former club in August. And the ex-Juventus man has yet to show any signs of slowing down.
Former United teammate Ryan Giggs has played past his 40th birthday, and Solskjaer can see Ronaldo doing the exact same.
Asked about the lifespan of the Portugal international, he replied: “I wouldn’t be surprised if he was still playing at 40, not at all, because of the way he takes care of him.
“That’s the key – and of course some genes. There must also be genes, TBEN in there.
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“One of the fastest in the Premier League”
“He’s put every ounce of energy and effort into becoming the player he is and has been, so he deserves every little praise he gets for his physical condition.
“What’s more impressive is that when you’ve achieved as much as him, he’s still just as hungry. His mentality is still perfect and it is the desire from within that he will continue until his head says: “no, I have given everything now”.
“I hope it will last a few more years. Linford Christie was quite old when he also won his gold medal, so age is never an issue.
“He’s still one of the fastest players in the league and I’m always happy with his physical condition.
“But of course he’s back in the Premier League and there may be more intensity than the Italian and Spanish leagues so we’ll have to manage his workload.
“But he’s there to score goals, of course, and to create goals.”
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