Cristiano Ronaldo v Wayne Rooney - BBC compared their attributes back in 2004

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Manchester United fans now realise just how spoilt they were during Sir Alex Ferguson’s 26-year spell as manager.

They were treated to some of the best football ever witnessed in England - and watched their team win a host of major honours in the process.

Fergie produced several great teams during his tenure, including the legendary sides that won the 1999 and 2008 Champions League titles.

United fans will always debate which of the two teams was the best - but both were formidable.

The 2008 team featured some of the world’s best players at the time including Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez and, of course, Cristiano Ronaldo.

It was Ronaldo who would go on to win the first of his five Ballon d’Or awards later that year.

The Portuguese international is now widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time thanks to his remarkable nine-year spell with Real Madrid.


Rooney and Tevez have also enjoyed fine careers in their own rights since 2008, although neither has scaled the heights that their Portuguese former teammate has.

Back in 2004, however, Ronaldo was an inconsistent performer and there were certainly no guarantees that he would go on to become a world beater.

Indeed, BBC Sport published a feature comparing Ronaldo’s attributes with Rooney that year - and the results look rather interesting now.


BBC’s verdict: ‘Ronaldo has the edge on natural pace.’

Manchester United v AC Sparta Prague


BBC’s verdict: ‘Rooney wins this one hands down.’

Newcastle United v Manchester United


BBC’s verdict: ‘Rooney once again comes out on top.’

Manchester United v Fenerbahce SK

Natural ability

BBC’s verdict: ‘Ronaldo has the more eye-catching gifts, but Rooney is more focused. Scoring draw.’

Newcastle United v Manchester United


BBC’s verdict: ‘Ronaldo is a far calmer character.’

Manchester United's Portuguese forward C


BBC’s verdict: ‘England's boy genius wins out as his end product is, at the moment, more devastating and consistent than Ronaldo.’

So there you have it. BBC Sport actually rated Rooney as the better footballer of the two Man Utd teammates 14 years ago.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney celebra

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, of course, but it just goes to show how hard Ronaldo has worked to make it to where he is now - and you have to admire that about him.

Premier League
Cristiano Ronaldo
Wayne Rooney
Manchester United

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