Cristiano Ronaldo has earned a new nickname at Manchester United with his importance to Erik ten Hag’s side slowly beginning to increase.
The 37-year-old has made, by his standards, a torrid start to the season after netting just once in eight appearances – most of which have been from the bench – having lost the manager’s trust after spending the summer trying to engineer a move away.
However, after scoring in United’s 2-0 Europa League victory over FC Sheriff last week, Ronaldo’s form seems to be on the up and defender Lisandro Martinez paid tribute to his team-mate on Instagram, revealing a new nickname.
Martinez, who has become a close confidant of Ronaldo’s over the past few weeks, wrote: “El bichoooo”, which means, “The Bug” in English.
It was moniker Ronaldo picked up during his nine-year stint at Real Madrid. Spanish commentator Lama first used the name to signify the way in which the five-time Ballon d’Or winner would frighten, and often devour, defenders, just as bugs tend to frighten people, and devour their prey.
The name stuck, and Madrid fans soon began chanting ‘El Bicho’ from the stands, especially when Ronaldo was on a hot scoring streak.
Speaking after the win over Sheriff, Ten Hag insisted that Ronaldo was “committed” to the club and suggested he had plans to begin reintegrating the Portugal superstar into his starting line-up.
“I think he’s totally committed to this project and totally committed to this team, totally involved. You see also connections forming around him and he is constructing connections, so I’m happy with that,” the Dutchman said.