On this day 13 years ago, Ronaldo given standing ovation from Man Utd fans after hat-trick


With little to no football happening around the world right now, we find ourselves looking back to better times when we could all watch and enjoy the beautiful game.

Right now, we should all be captivated by the climax of domestic European leagues. The title races in Spain and Germany were hotting up nicely, while the Champions League race and relegation battle in England were too tight to call.

While in European competitions, the quarter-finals of both the Europa League and Champions League should be underway.

While that clearly isn’t happening this year - at least not yet - it gives us the opportunity to look back at what happened on this year in previous years.

And perhaps the best throwback came all the way back in 2003.

Manchester United took on Real Madrid at Old Trafford in the second leg of their quarter-final tie.

Real led 3-1 from the first leg but what followed on that night back on April 23 2003, will go down in history.

Dubbed the ‘Match of the legends,’ it was an evening where the likes of David Beckham, Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Roberto Carlos, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and the hero of the night, Ronaldo, all shared a pitch.

And we should probably focus on that Brazilian legend, considering he scored an incredible hat-trick during United’s 4-3 victory on the night.


Despite winning the match on the night, United never really looked as though they would go through - mainly thanks to Ronaldo’s brilliance.

His first goal saw him run off Rio Ferdinand, pick up a ball from Guti and fire past Fabian Barthez at the near post. His second was put on a plate for him after a brilliant move from Roberto Carlos and Zinedine Zidane. His third, though, was just incredible. He picked the ball up 25 yards out, ran with the ball before firing it past Barthez into the top corner.


When he was substituted with 20 minutes remaining, the entire 66,708 fans inside the stadium applauded him off.

After the match, Sir Alex Ferguson said: “You can’t legislate for someone who produces moments like that."

One of the greatest performances ever from one of the greatest players ever.

Just imagine if he didn’t suffer from terrible knee injuries during his career. El Fenomeno would have been considered even more phenomenal.


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