It was at Manchester United where Cristiano Ronaldo became a household name.
Signed as a fresh-faced 18-year-old from Sporting Lisbon in 2003, Ronaldo would develop into one of the best players on the planet under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson.
He spent six seasons at Man United, winning three Premier League titles and the Champions League in that time.
His goalscoring return wasn’t as stunning as it would be at the Bernabeu but 118 goals in 292 appearances is nothing to scoff at. Forty-two of those goals came in the 2007/08 campaign, which ended with domestic and European glory.
And the Portuguese forward helped United make it a hat-trick of titles in his final season at the club.
Ronaldo scored 26 goals in all competitions in the 2008/09 season. He was ridiculously good, as a video of his season highlights shows.
Ronaldo’s game has evolved over the years but in his final season at Man United, he combined skills with pace, and was developing the power that would propel him to even greater heights at Real Madrid.
And then there were the goals. THAT goal against Porto in the Champions League, which Ronaldo later called the best goal he had ever scored, was the pick of the bunch.
Ferguson couldn’t keep Ronaldo at Old Trafford forever and the allure of Real Madrid was too much to resist.
He left on good terms, though, with Man United fans speaking highly of him to this day.
Unsurprisingly, Ferguson regards Ronaldo, who won his first Ballon d’Or at Man United and added four more with Real Madrid, as the best player he ever coached.
"Ronaldo is a perfect example of someone who made himself,” Ferguson said in 2016, per the Independent.
“It's easy for me to say, 'yeah, I made Ronaldo’. Many coaches might say I made this player and I made that player, but Ronaldo made himself.
We just gave him the tools and the platform to excel. His practice ethic was incredible.
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