Cristiano Ronaldo and the Champions League are football’s ultimate power couple.
No matter where you stand on the GOAT debate with Lionel Messi, we can all safely conclude that Ronaldo is the better player out of the two when it comes to Europe’s premier competition.
As well as being the Champions League’s all-time top scorer, Ronaldo has collected the trophy five times, scored four goals in finals and astonishingly scored 17 times in the 2013/14 campaign.
However, if you were to trace the lineage of Ronaldo’s success on the continental stage, then Moscow 2008 is probably where you’d end up.
The 2008 climax was the first time that two English clubs had slogged it out for ‘Big Ears’ and the game famously went all the way to penalties with John Terry missing a crucial spot kick.
2008 Champions League final
But what a lot of people forget is that the player Terry was letting off the hook by hitting the post was actually Ronaldo himself, who’d seen his penalty batted away by Petr Cech.
In the end, another miss from Nicolas Anelka meant that Ronaldo was reprieved and he lifted the European title that his 42 goals in that season alone deserved.
But let’s rewind a second. The drama of the penalties on that rainy night in Russia means that the 120 minutes that preceded it are often forgotten, which is quite the shame for Ronaldo.
Ronaldo’s individual highlights
Yes, any football fan worth his salt will tell you that Ronaldo opened the scoring with a bullet header, but the sheer brilliance of his performance through each minute is worthy of equal praise.
However, there are still supporters that remember the brilliance of his display and Twitter user @Jay_RMA is clearly one of them because they’ve uploaded Ronaldo’s highlights this week.
In what they’ve branded a ‘legendary performance’, Ronaldo’s best bits can be seen across two short videos that are so impressive it makes you forget it was a Champions League final.
But alas, Ronaldo has always been the man for the big occasion and you can do a lot worse than spending four minutes of him playing his best football with the Red Devils. Check it out:
Poor Michael Essien was run ragged.
We’ve all seen skill compilations of Ronaldo ruining defenders during his time at Old Trafford, but to see him doing so when the Champions League title is at stake is a whole different ball game.
There’s just a certain way that Ronaldo moved during his younger days, bursting forward in dramatic sprints and waving his legs before defenders as if they’re two magic wands.
Besides, these aren’t just any old players that Ronaldo is gliding past as if he’s on ice skates, these are world-class pros like Michael Ballack, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole.
And although Ronaldo would go on to become a much more efficient front man with Real Madrid, it’s those traits during his time in England that made him box-office entertainment every week.
So, yes, the headlines are that Ronaldo scored the opener and missed his penalty, but to forget the astonishing moments that came between the lines would be to do him a major disservice.
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