Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United has certainly captured the imagination, not just on social media but at all levels of the club itself.Last Sunday, we saw Jesse Lingard perform the 36-year-old’s signature goal celebration after scoring for England at Wembley.
United youngster Sam Mather has also replicated the move, during our Under-18s’ 3-0 victory over Leeds at the end of August – the day after Ronaldo’s signing was announced.
With the Portuguese star’s second debut potentially just days away, we’re expecting to see his ‘siii!’ pose plenty of times over the seasons to come, but some Reds may be wondering what it’s all about. After all, Cristiano didn’t mark his first 118 strikes in a United shirt in a particularly special way.
Close your eyes and you may be able to picture our no.7 roaring to the heavens, arms outstretched (Portsmouth, 2008) or the ‘who, me?’ shrug (Sporting Lisbon, 2007) but nothing millions of kids worldwide would regularly reproduce in the school playground.
That’s all changed in the last decade or so, with Ronaldo increasingly celebrating his goals for Real Madrid, Juventus and Portugal in his own unmistakeable manner.
The routine, which the forward has had plenty of opportunity to perfect, goes something like this:Ronaldo finds the net and runs towards the corner flag.Facing the crowd, he then leaps in the air, turning 180 degrees in the process.On landing, now looking out at the rest of the pitch, he adopts a power stance, stretches out his arms and shouts ‘siiiiiiiii’.
It’s a celebration which has been depicted in video games and Cristiano is often asked about the reasons behind it.Of course, several of our other players have trademark routines: Bruno Fernandes dedicates all of his goals to his young children, while Edinson Cavani’s archer pose references the people of Uruguay and their fighting spirit.
The origins of Ronaldo’s celebration are a little more illogical, but the move has taken on greater meaning among fans in recent years, especially with the 36-year-old winning Champions Leagues, Ballons d’Or and establishing himself as one of the greatest players in the history of the game.
“I started to say ‘si’, it’s like ‘yes’, when I was in Real Madrid,” Ronaldo said in an interview in 2019.When we would win, everyone would say ‘siiiii’ and so I started to say it. I don’t know why, it was natural.I was in the USA and we played against Chelsea [in 2013] and I don’t know where this is coming from, the celebration.
“I just scored the goal and it just came out. It was just natural, to be honest. Since that, I started to do it more often and I feel like the supporters and the fans see it and they’re like ‘Cristiano, siiiiiiuuuu’.I’m like ‘wow! People are reminded of me because of it!’So it’s good, and I’ll continue doing it like that.”
Hopefully, we can see – and hear – Ronaldo performing the move at Old Trafford as early as Saturday, when United take on Newcastle.