LIVERPOOL - Cristiano Ronaldo scored the 700th club goal of his career after coming off the bench to put Manchester United in front at Everton on Sunday.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has been relegated to the bench for the majority of Erik ten Hag's time in charge at United, but made his entrance on the half-hour mark to replace the injured Anthony Martial.
It took the Portuguese just 14 minutes to net his first Premier League goal of the season as he latched onto Casemiro's pass before firing low past Jordan Pickford to make it 2-1 to the visitors.
That strike took the 37-year-old's tally in two spells with United to 144.
Real Madrid's record goal-scorer hit 450 for the Spanish giants, while he scored 101 times for Juventus and five for Sporting Lisbon.
The Portugal captain also holds the record for goals at international level with 117.
“Every player needs it (confidence), even when you are the best in the world,” said United manager Erik ten Hag.
“I worked with many goal scorers and they need the goals in every season to have that feeling, that confirmation of the intuition.
“Once they have some goals, they come in a flow and games go easier. That will happen with him as well.”
The Red Devils were seeking a response to being thrashed 6-3 by Manchester City last weekend but got off to the worst possible start.
On his first Premier League start since arriving for £60 million (S$95 million) from Real Madrid, Casemiro was culpable for the opening goal as he was robbed in possession by Amadou Onana and the ball eventually broke for Alex Iwobi to curl into the top corner from outside the box.
Everton came into the game with the best defensive record in the league, but were quickly undone as United levelled within 10 minutes.
Antony became the first United player to score in his first three Premier League games with a cool finish from Martial’s pass.
But Martial only lasted half an hour after pulling up with a hip injury in the warm-up.
His departure paved the way for Ronaldo to make his entranc.
Casemiro made amends for his earlier error by winning possession in midfield and playing in his former Real Madrid teammate to fire the winner. AFP