Ronaldo's five best moments in a Manchester United shirt

Manchester United fans had been longing for Cristiano Ronaldo to rejoin their side for many years. — AP file
Manchester United fans had been longing for Cristiano Ronaldo to rejoin their side for many years. — AP file

Dubai - Cristiano Ronaldo finally returns to Manchester United

By Arsh Asthana

Published: Sat 28 Aug 2021, 10:20 PM

After 12 long years, Cristiano Ronaldo finally returns to Manchester United. The Portuguese signed from Sporting Lisbon in 2003 and left in 2009, having won three Premier League titles, the PFA Premier League Player of the Year, Premier League Golden Boot twice and the Champions League and the Ballon D’or in 2008 during his time with the Red Devils. To celebrate his return to Old Trafford, let’s take a look at his five best moments in a Manchester United shirt.

1)Ronaldo wins the Ballon D’or in 2008

Following off the back of a very successful campaign where Ronaldo scored 42 goals in all competitions and lead the Red Devils to a Premier League and Champions League double, he won the Ballon D’or in 2008, beating out Lionel Messi in second place and Fernando Torres in third. He became the first United player to win the coveted award since George Best in 1968. Cristiano said after winning the award, “It is one of the most beautiful days of my life. To gain this trophy is something I dreamed of as a child.”

2)Ronaldo scoring and winning the Champions League Final in 2008

During an all-english final between Manchester United and Chelsea at Moscow in 2008, it was Ronaldo who struck first when he headed Wes Brown’s cross past Petr Cech in the 26th minute. It didn’t take long for Chelsea to issue a response, as club legend Frank Lampard equalised in the 45th minute just before half time. The game went to a penalty shootout, as the score was still 1-1 after extra time. Ronaldo stepped up to take United’s third penalty, but unfortunately for him Cech guessed the right way and produced a strong save as he dived to his right. His blushes were spared as John Terry slipped during his run-up and missed, and Nicholas Anelka had his penalty saved by Van Der Sar, to secure Manchester United their third and Ronaldo’s first Champions League trophy.

3)Ronaldo wins the title for United at Manchester City

Manchester United were looking to secure the 2006/07 Premier League title during an away trip to their fierce rivals, Manchester City on 5th May 2007. In the 34th minute, Ronaldo converted a spot kick after being fouled in the box by Michael Ball, who had also stamped him during the early moments of the game. The game ended in a narrow 1-0 victory, and helped the Red Devils clinch the title as Chelsea drew to Arsenal the following day.

4)Ronaldo scores a stunner at Porto

Heading into the second leg of the 2008/09 Champions League quarter finals, Manchester United would be knocked out by Porto on away goals if the aggregate score remained 2-2. In the sixth minute, Ronaldo scored a 35 metre stunner against the Portuguese side, which ended up being the inaugural Puskas Award winner in 2009. The game ended 1-0, and with the final aggregate score being 3-2, United advanced to the semi-finals, where they beat Arsenal 4-1 before they eventually lost 2-0 in the final to Barcelona.

5)Ronaldo’s free kick against Portsmouth

On 30th January 2008, Portsmouth visited Old Trafford on the back of seven away wins in their last 12 games. Ronaldo was getting ready to take a free kick from 25 yards out, placing the ball down and taking four long strides back and assuming his famous stance. The Portuguese then takes a run up and lashes the ball through his laces, the swerving and dipping strike left Portsmouth goalkeeper David James helpless as the ball found its way into the top corner. The speed, power and movement of that goal perfectly personified what it means to score a classic “Ronaldo free kick.”

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