Ronaldo return for United
By Patrick Goss
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to Manchester United from the Olympics.Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to Manchester United after Portugal bowed out of the Olympic Games football tournament.
The skilful young winger was one of the stars of the European Championship, but his call-up for Portugal's Olympic campaign delayed his return to the club.
Ronaldo was suspended for Portugal's final group game in Greece, and could only watch from the sidelines as his side suffered a humiliating 4-2 defeat to Costa Rica.
However, what is an embarrassing exit for Portugal does hand United boss Sir Alex Ferguson the boon of an early return for his number seven.
Ferguson turned out a strong side for the testimonial of friend Stan Ternent on Tuesday evening, and he was delighted that his senior players wanted to feature in what amounted to a friendly match.
"For Phil Neville it was an important night," said Ferguson. "He's been out for two or three games and it was important that he got a full game under his belt.
"Some of the younger ones had an important night as well.
"For [Paul] Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Mikael Silvestre and Tim Howard it was great for them to show up.
"They wanted to play and that is great credit to them."
Ferguson admits that United are thin on the ground this season as far as squad players who can step into the starting line-up and perform at the highest level.
"I think we are playing catch up in that respect," admitted the experienced tactician.
"We are back to the same players who play in the most important games all the time, and I worry that that could have a wearing effect.
"But we will just have to dig in and get on with it."
One player who will add strength-in-depth is Gabriel Heinze, who is also at the Olympics, but has helped Argentina through to the latter stages.
The defender is looking forward to getting a busy international summer behind him and joining up with his new club.
"I was really proud to be selected for the Olympics," said Heinze. "I wanted to play and that is why I came here.
"It has been a busy summer, very physical and tiring, but when you are pulling on the Argentina shirt you do whatever you can.
"Of course I am looking forward to joining Manchester United.
"They have some great players from all over the world and it is fantastic to have an opportunity to play with them.
"I have been keeping up with the news from Old Trafford and saw highlights of the Chelsea game on Sunday."