Football

Phil Neville and Cristiano Ronaldo..

Phil Neville tweets about the time he wiped out Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008

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You'd he hard pressed to find a Premier League fan that wouldn't want Cristiano Ronaldo back in English football.

Okay, sure, the Portuguese's prolific goal scoring has probably engrained some bad memories for opposing teams but - for six years - one of the greatest players of all time took residence in the game's most competitive top league.

Since his move to Real Madrid, Ronaldo has propelled his reputation and figures into astronomical territory. The 32-year-old has garnered four Ballon d'Or titles and looks almost certain to draw level with Lionel Messi this year.

It's certainly perceivable that his time in England contributed to the enviable physical attributes Ronaldo has since wielded in La Liga.

No matter where you stand on the Ronaldo-Messi debate, there's no debating who would win in a foot race and arm wrestle.

When Ronaldo first arrived at Manchester United in 2003, the Portuguese was regularly seen diving and going down easily when his array of skills were interrupted with a crunching tackle.

Arguably the most famous example of this came during his first meeting with Wayne Rooney when the young Englishman sent his future United teammate into the sky with a ruthless challenge.

Ronaldo became practically unstoppable, though, when the 32-year-old began to iron out this flaw in his game.

UEFA Champions League: Manchester United v Lille

Even a freshly vetted and Ballon d'Or-bound Ronaldo couldn't escape the wrath of Phil Neville's studs at Goodison Park in 2008, however.

The brutal tackle on an already tumbling Ronaldo evolved into a scrum of United and Everton players - check out the incident below:

In light of the crowd trouble at Everton's Europa League clash with Lyon on Thursday, in which life bans were dished out, one United supporter recalled the incident and suggested that should have started a riot of its own.

Neville couldn't resist replying with a cheeky tweet, take a look:

Some of the ball, Phil, but a whole lot of Ronaldo.

There was no surprise that the Everton man was cautioned for his actions, that's for sure.

His brother - Gary Neville - has explained the role of such physical encounters on Ronaldo's career previously and he certainly subscribes to its importance. He explained: "Physically, he changed from a boy to a man.

Gamba Osaka v Manchester United - FIFA Club World Cup 2008

"It was like he left as a featherweight and returned as a light heavyweight. That brought him a level of power he didn't have before."

Do you think Cristiano is the greatest player in Premier League history? Have your say in the comments section below.

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Topics:
Phil Neville
Football
Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo

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