Cristiano Ronaldo SURPASSED expectations in first Man Utd season after transfer return despite club woes, says Berbatov

DIMITAR BERBATOV says the "stats prove" Cristiano Ronaldo was a success at Manchester United this season – despite the club's disappointing campaign.

United fans hoped they might challenge for top honours again after club legend Ronaldo returned from Juventus last summer.

Instead it was another trophyless campaign and disappointing sixth-place Prem finish that saw them end 35 points behind champions and bitter rivals Manchester City.

It was also a season which saw club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer relieved of managerial duties in November, and the arrival of Ralf Rangnick as caretaker boss.

Question marks have been raised over Ronaldo's influence on the dressing room, and he endured a 587-minute mid-season goal drought – his longest in nearly 12 years.

But the Portugal striker still bagged 24 goals for United in all competitions – 18 in the league – and almost single-handedly dragged the club into the knock-out stages of the Champions League.

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And his former Red Devils striker partner Berbatov says – taking everything into account – 37-year-old Ronaldo's return can only be viewed as a success.

The retired Bulgaria forward, 41, told Betfair: "I have been asked a lot of times about him, and every time I have said the same thing.

"He is bringing goals, bringing experience, helping the young talent and knowing just how to play the game.

"He is also smart about the way he plays and what he brings to the table.

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"It doesn't matter how old he is and he has proven that.

"He is playing in the Premier League — the best league in the world — and he has scored 24 goals overall at 37-years-old. Come on, the guy is unbelievable."

Incoming United manager Erik ten Hag says Ronaldo remains very much part of his plans for next season as he embarks on a project to restore the club to its former glory.

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