These are five great moments of Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo in his first phase (2003-2009) at Manchester United, the club that announced the return of the star this Friday after twelve years:
November 2003: first goal
The Old Trafford audience discovered a promising young man, coming from Sporting Lisbon and announced as a future superstar. From an early age, he showed his talent with technique and speed.
The first goal of the young man with blonde locks was not long in coming. It was on November 1st, against Portsmouth, with a direct free kick, taking advantage of an error by goalkeeper Shaka Hislop. The future ‘CR7’ scored 118 goals in 292 games with the ‘Red Devils’ shirt.
May 2004: first title
The Madeira Island player won the first of his nine titles in England in his first season in Manchester. United saved a discreet season by winning the FA Cup and Cristiano Ronaldo stood out against surprising rivals in the final, Millwall (2nd division).
On minute 19, Cristiano opened the scoring with his head, after a cross from Gary Neville. Dutch striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy then doubled up in a 3-0 victory for players led by Alex Ferguson.
March 2008: better than George Best
2008 was the year of Cristiano Ronaldo’s great consecration in the ‘Red Devils’. First he broke an old record, that of club legend George Best (32 goals in 1967-1968). On March 19, Manchester United hosted Bolton at Old Trafford and Cristiano Ronaldo made a one-two that raised their total to 33, taking into account all competitions.
He ended the season with 42 goals in his personal record, 31 in the Premier League (Uefa Golden Shoe), 3 in the FA Cup and 8 in the European Champions League (top scorer).
May 2008: First Champions League title
Cristiano Ronaldo lifted the ‘Orelhuda’, the famous Champions League trophy, four times (2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018) with Real Madrid. But the first time was with Manchester United, in 2008.
It was on May 21, 2008 in Moscow, in an exciting final against Chelsea.
The Portuguese opened the scoring midway through the first half, heading a Wes Brown cross. Frank Lampard tied at the end of the first stage and then neither team managed to score, until the penalty kick.
Cristiano Ronaldo, chosen as the ‘player of the match’, missed the shot, which was saved by Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech. But John Terry and Nicolas Anelka also lost theirs and Manchester United were crowned champions.
The young Portuguese was moved and wept with the conquest of the great title.
2009: defeat by Messi’s Barca
Before the rivalry between the Portuguese and the Argentine Lionel Messi was usual in the Real Madrid-Barcelona duel of the Spanish LaLiga, the two faced each other in the final of the Champions League. It was at a Barça-Manchester United, on May 27, 2009, in Rome.
The ‘Red Devils’ could do nothing against Josep Guardiola’s Barca, who won 2-0, with goals from Samuel Eto’o and Messi.
Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates were left without the European title.
A few weeks later, the Portuguese left the English club and was signed by Real Madrid.