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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Charlton tips Ronaldo for another 'fantastic' season

Sir Bobby Charlton is pleased Cristiano Ronaldo has re-discovered his dead-ball technique - and believes the Manchester United winger is ready to rack up the goals again.

Ronaldo took his tally to 101 for the club with two in last weekend's 5-0 Premier League victory against Stoke.

For the first time this season, both came from free-kicks - leaving goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen baffled.

Ronaldo is now on nine for the campaign - he scored a remarkable 43 last season - but he did not get going until mid-September following an ankle operation.

Charlton, who scored 249 goals in 758 appearances for United, is delighted to see that integral facet of the Portugal winger's game return.

He said: "Cristiano's free-kicks have not been going in - but thankfully they did last weekend. His rate of scoring is fantastic. He had a great season last time around and is heading for another one.''

Real Madrid have made no secret of the fact they would like to have Ronaldo on board, but he has decided to stay put.

Charlton claims Ronaldo is at the best club to hone his talents and is working with the best manager to do that.

"I think Cristiano thought about it and realised this is the best place," he added. "With the best manager? Absolutely.''

United are playing catch-up in a bid to retain their title and lie eight points behind leaders Chelsea but with a game in hand.

Next up is a difficult trip on Saturday to an Aston Villa side who beat Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in their last match.

Charlton, however, is optimistic about United's chances in the long term.

He conceded: "We have some catching up to do in the league, and Villa will be a hard match.

"But we are playing well - and if we are lucky with injuries and suspensions, we should be okay. We have some exciting players, and things are just beginning to happen.''

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