Cristiano Ronaldo's finest Manchester United moments

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The best moments from Cristiano Ronaldo’s career at Manchester United
The best moments from Cristiano Ronaldo’s career at Manchester United

Cristiano Ronaldo returns to the club where he first made his name as his former employers Manchester United welcome Juventus to Old Trafford in the Champions League.

Ronaldo scored 118 times in 292 appearances for United, helping them collect three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups and the 2008 European Cup.

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Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of his greatest moments in a Red Devils shirt:

Making an early impression

Ronaldo became the world’s most expensive teenager when United paid £12.24million to Portuguese club Sporting before the 2003-04 season. Handed the number seven shirt previously made famous by George Best, Eric Cantona and David Beckham, the 18-year-old came off the bench against Bolton for his debut and got to work with an array of tricks, flicks and step-overs that would go on to become his trademark. However, he proved there was some substance behind the style and earned rave reviews for his cameo.

Glory, Glory, Man United

Cristiano Ronaldo, left, helped Manchester United defeat Millwall in the 2004 FA Cup final (Martin Rickett/PA)
Cristiano Ronaldo, left, helped Manchester United defeat Millwall in the 2004 FA Cup final (Martin Rickett/PA)

Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ dominated Ronaldo’s first season in English football but the youngster would not go empty-handed, and he left his imprint at the Millennium Stadium to help United to glory in the FA Cup. Sir Alex Ferguson’s men were overwhelming favourites to defeat Millwall in the final but they were frustrated for most of the first half until Ronaldo stole in at the back post to head home Gary Neville’s cross.

Ruud van Nistelrooy bagged a second-half double to ensure Ronaldo claimed his first trophy in English football.

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Putting Newcastle to the sword

Ronaldo truly bloomed in the 2007-08 season and Newcastle discovered just how predatory he could be as the forward netted his only hat-trick in United colours.

He bagged his 20th goal of the season by January as he slotted a free-kick under the Newcastle wall while his 50th league goal for United came shortly afterwards, putting the finishing touches to a free-flowing move.

His treble arrived just before full-time with another fine finish in a game where Newcastle were routed 6-0 at Old Trafford.

THAT free-kick

Ronaldo’s free-kick routine – the meticulous placing of the ball, the four precise steps back, the couple of gulps of air – is practised by amateurs young and old across the land today and that was in evidence when he scored what may have been his most memorable goal during his six years at United.

Ronaldo had already put United ahead against Portsmouth in January 2008 when he struck a 30-yard set-piece with such venom and accuracy that it left David James rooted to the spot as the ball flew into the top corner.

Shining on the grandest stage

Ronaldo and the Champions League have become synonymous with each other during his time at Real Madrid but his first European crown came under Ferguson and United 10 years ago. In a campaign where he won the Premier League Golden Boot, it was unsurprising that he scored the opener in the final against Chelsea with a superb header in which he seemed to hang in the air. Ronaldo would go on to miss a penalty in the shoot-out but United prevailed.


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