October 2, 2021 || 11:20 pm

Andros Townsend: Old Trafford celebration ‘mark of respect’ for Cristiano Ronaldo

There was a fam’iliar celebration at Old Tra’fford on Saturday, but not fr’om the player you m’ight expect.

Fans have see’n plenty of Cristiano Ronaldo’s tradem’ark ‘Siu’ celebrat’ion with ‘his five goals in seven games sin’ce his return to Manchester United, most ‘recently a 95th-minute winner against Villarre’al in the Cha’mpions League.

But as Ole Gun’nar Sols’kjaer’s side return’ed to Prem’ier League action against Everton, Andros Townse’nd cou’ldn’t r’esist celebrating in Ron’aldo-esque fashion as his strike earned the visitors a 1-1 draw.

The Toffe’es win’ger r’aced towards the travelling supporters before leapi”ng in the air and landi’ng with ‘his arms pointed behind his back.

The 30-year-old insis’ted it was not a dig at the 5-time Ballon d’Or winner – in fact, quite the opposite.

“It’s a mar’k of res’pect to a guy who influ’enced my career,” he said.

“I spe’nt m’any hour’s on the traini’ng pi’tch and’ in the video roo’m tryi’ng to anal’yse his free-kicks and hi’s step’overs and the way he dedi’cates himse’lf to footb’all.

“So it wasn’t an imit’ation, it was a mark of resp’ect to one of my idols. ‘I probably did’n’t do the celebr’ation justi’ce and didn’t exec’ute it perf’ectly.”

The Portug’uese himse’lf had little impact after his 57th-mi’nute introduct’ion from the bench against the Bl’ues.

When asked why Ron’aldo didn’t start, Unit’ed boss Solskjaer said: “Me and hi’m, we unde’rstand more t’han the exp’erts and journa’lists for ex’ample.

“It’s about pick’ing the rig’ht mom’ents to play’ him, to not play him. He’s not a you’ng puppy any more, but he’s as profes’sional as ever and ready to com’e on and he came on to’day with energy and goo’d att’itude.”

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