David De Gea believes Cristiano Ronaldo has made an instant impact since returning to Manchester United, while he is also ready to fight for his own place.
De Gea is one of the longest serving players in the United squad, but his arrival came a couple of years after Ronaldo left in a then-world-record transfer for Real Madrid. Now, though, after that glittering spell in Spain and then three years with Juventus in Italy, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is back in Manchester.
Ronaldo made his second debut for the club on Saturday, scoring a brace in a 4-1 win over Newcastle. He has taken no time at all to settle back into familiar surroundings, even if a lot has changed since he was previously a United player.
He has been tipped to lift all those around him, but particularly those still learning their game. De Gea himself needs no help, having established himself as one of the league’s best goalkeepers. But the 30-year-old has also noticed the boost of the return of Ronaldo.
“It’s great to have Cristiano home,” the Spaniard said at a press conference on Monday. “He showed already from the first day we played at Old Trafford his impact, he scored two goals, very important goals for us.
“You know the qualities but we were talking before, the experience of Cristiano is amazing. It’s great for us.
“He’s a legend at the club already. It’s great to have him back and it’s massive for us.”
While it is impossible to think of Ronaldo as anything other than a regular starter, even at the age of 36, the situation is somewhat different for De Gea.
His levels have dropped from the elite standards he is capable of in recent years and transfer speculation has followed him for a while.
Following Dean Henderson’s reintegration into the club last season, De Gea has not been the guaranteed number one. But he has taken advantage of Henderson’s recent absence to put together a good run of form in the first few weeks of the season.
Still, it will be an intense battle between the two for the gloves over the course of the whole season.
De Gea, though, has no issues with such competition.
“I’ve played here with many great goalkeepers and the fight between keepers we must always fight for our positions,” he said. “United want to be ambitious and bring in the best players then we must fight for our positions.”
The former Atletico Madrid shot-stopper did confess to how positive he is feeling about his own form, though.
“I feel strong, confident, I feel very happy at the club with my teammates, with the staff, with everyone,” he added.
“I keep training 100% every day, use my focus and experience for the team and try to help.”
De Gea linked with Juventus
Despite his assertion of how happy he currently is, De Gea continues to be the subject of speculation for next year.
De Gea is under contract until 2023, but he was linked with a move away earlier in the summer.
And according to reports in Spain, Juventus are planning to move for the Spaniard in 2022. They are looking at an alternative for ex-Arsenal stopper Wojciech Szczesny.
PSG keeper Keylor Navas is also an option for Juve, but De Gea is firmly back in their thoughts.
The outlet claim De Gea’s market value is €18m, but Juve would hope to get a deal done for €15m.
He would be guaranteed first-team football in Turin, with the Old Lady’s faith in Szczesny on the wane. However, De Gea has his feet firmly under the Old Trafford table at this point in time.