The number of professional footballers Cristiano Ronaldo has nutmegged during his illustrious career must be in the hundreds by now.
The Portuguese superstar was one of the most skilful footballers in the world before he became an out-and-out goal machine; although even now, at the age of 35, he’s more than capable of embarrassing opponents.
When it comes to nutmegs, Ronaldo has certainly dished out far more than he’s received over the years.
However, one person who *is* able to boast to his mates that he once nutmegged one of the greatest footballers of all time is a 51-year-old English bloke called Scott Hiley.
Hiley enjoyed a decent career as a professional, making over 300 appearances for Exeter City while also playing for the likes of Southampton, Portsmouth and, very briefly, Manchester City (when they weren’t that good).
And the proudest moment of his career – heck, perhaps even his life – came during his second spell with Exeter in 2005.
The right-back played the entire 90 minutes in a FA Cup third-round replay against the mighty Manchester United in January 2005.
Non-league Exeter held Sir Alex Ferguson’s side to a shock 0-0 draw at Old Trafford earlier in the month, and so the two sides did battle again a couple of weeks later at St. James’ Park.
And although Ronaldo broke the deadlock in the ninth minute, the world-class forward was left red-faced before half-time thanks to Hiley’s moment of magic.
Rather than clearing the ball out of touch or down the pitch, Hiley brilliantly beat Ronaldo with a textbook nutmeg.
Watch it here…
And here’s a slightly longer version…
That’s probably the best nutmeg Ronaldo has ever found himself on the receiving end of.
In an interview with Devon Live a few years back, Hiley joked that he ruined Ronaldo’s career that night.
“It seems like I ruined his career, didn’t I?” Hiley said. “I completely ruined him – if that hadn’t happened, he might have gone on to be an exceptional player.”
On a more serious note, the retired defender added: “He’s done very, very well and he is an exceptional player.
“He was very young at the time but I can just remember he had amazingly quick feet and you’d always try and keep your eye on the ball but you’d be mesmerised by his feet, they were so quick.
“He was very quick off the mark as well – he was very quick off those first two or three yards.
“He was just an exciting player and everyone was looking forward to seeing him.
“When I did the nutmeg, I probably annoyed him a little and he ended up scoring, so it must have annoyed him a little bit.”
Ronaldo, who now has five Ballon d’Or awards to his name, also played the full 90 minutes that night – alongside Wayne Rooney, whose 87th-minute goal saw United advance to the fourth round.
The Red Devils went on to reach the FA Cup final that season but lost against Arsenal on penalties.
As for Hiley, well, he retired in 2009 following a spell with Devon-based non-league side Cullompton Rangers F.C.
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