Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best goalscorers of all time, if not *the* best goalscorer of all time.
The Portuguese forward netted a mind-blowing 450 goals in 438 games for Real Madrid between 2009-2018. These extraordinary figures may never be surpassed.
And despite the fact he’s now in his mid-30s, Ronaldo continues to score goals for fun with Juventus. In 83 matches over the past two seasons, he’s bagged an impressive 60 goals.
However, few people would have predicted that Ronaldo was capable of such outrageous numbers during the first few years of his Manchester United spell.
In his first three seasons at Old Trafford, he scored 27 goals in 137 games.
Ronaldo was inconsistent back then. His teammates and fans alike found him frustrating at times.
But Sir Alex Ferguson knew Ronaldo’s potential was endless and stuck by him through the difficult moments.
It was a decision that paid dividends.
Ronaldo returned from the 2006 World Cup even more confident, self-assured and, crucially, muscular.
He’d transformed from boy to man over the course of that summer and his new physique helped him to conquer the Premier League.
In his final three seasons at Old Trafford, the Portugal international netted 91 goals in 155 games and won the Ballon d’Or before sealing a dream £80 million move to Real Madrid in the summer of 2009.
At the start of the 2006-07 season, Ferguson made a £400 bet with Ronaldo that he wouldn’t hit 15 Premier League goals.
Whenever Ronaldo is set a challenge, the outcome is inevitable.
Ronaldo had scored 13 league goals by December of that season.
"To beat the manager is my ambition and I want to carry on,” he told reporters after netting in a 3-1 win against Aston Villa, “I want to score more goals.”
And on February 4, Ronaldo scored his 15th of the season from the penalty spot in a 4-0 victory over Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
Ferguson was reminded of his bet with Ronaldo by Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves after the match - and this was his reaction…
"Penalties don't count!" he protested, before conceding: "Oh well, I'll need to go to the bank I think."
He added: "The boy has come on great, the courage to play and he always wants the ball. I thought he was a bit careless in the early part of the match, but he improved by getting more of the ball.
"He's not the kind of player who can play on the fringes, he's got to be involved all the time."
Great stuff, although we’ve fairly certain that Fergie wouldn’t have needed to organise a meeting at the bank to withdraw £400.
Ronaldo finished that season with 17 Premier League goals and 23 in all competitions.
The following season, Ronaldo and Fergie had another bet.
According to a report in the Daily Mail back in July 2007, Ronaldo bet Ferguson that the loser would need to shave their hair off if he didn’t net 20 Premier League goals.
He ended the season with 31 goals, but Ferguson somehow managed to worm his way out of the forfeit.
Fans predicted that Fergie would have ended up looking like this…
It was probably just as well for Ferguson that Ronaldo eventually left Old Trafford in 2009.
Constantly losing bets to Cristiano, he was on course to eventually end up both bald and bankrupt.
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