Cristiano Ronaldo's greatest Man Utd game: Remembering his performance v Arsenal in 2009

Ronaldo's best performance in a Man Utd shirt

Cristiano Ronaldo has established himself as one of the greatest footballer’s of all time. 

He’s been at the top for well over a decade now and if it wasn’t for Lionel Messi, the GOAT crown would sit firmly upon his head. 

It was at Real Madrid that CR7 really established himself as a legend, but no one can forget his exploits for Manchester United. 

After all, he won three Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups and the Champions League at Old Trafford. 

Oh, and United also won the Club World Cup in 2008/09 too. Not bad. 

Ronaldo made 292 appearances and scored 118 goals for the club, after joining them on August 12, 2003. 

That, coincidently, is 17 years ago today. 17 years! Time flies. 

Ronaldo signed for Man Utd 17 years ago

But what better way to celebrate Ronaldo’s legacy at Man United than remembering the highlights from what many call his greatest game for the club? 

The year is 2009. United are facing arch-rivals Arsenal in the second leg of the Champions League semi-finals.

It doesn’t get any bigger and boy did Ronaldo step up. Check out the highlights from his match-winning performance below: 

What a throwback! It’s a game Man United fans will never forget, that’s for sure – and Ronaldo was in imperial form that night. 

He had a hand in all three of his team’s goals – providing an assist for Park Ji-sung inside eight minutes. 

The Portuguese forward then added a second with a stunning free-kick, smashing the ball past Manuel Almunia after winning the set-piece himself. 

Ronaldo's free-kick was world class

“Too far for Ronaldo to think about it,” ITV commentator Clive Tyldesley said as he stepped up. In your dreams, Clive. 

CR7’s incredible performance was capped in the second half when he started – and finished – a sweeping counter-attack that sent Man United into the Champions League final.

What a performance. What a player. It’s hard to believe it’s been 17 years since Ronaldo arrived at Man United for just over £12m. 

This was Ronaldo's greatest game for Man Utd

Six days prior to that, he’d actually dazzled his new club in a friendly while playing for Sporting Lisbon and of course, it was that performance that convinced Sir Alex Ferguson to sign him.

A couple of United legends have since reminisced about that day, too.  

“You see Ronaldo get the ball, and you see him turn John O’Shea inside out, and you’re having a little giggle to yourself,” former United midfielder Ryan Giggs said in 2016

Ronaldo dazzled United in 2003

“He just lit up the game, all the lads were talking to him after the game and I remember we were waiting on the coach and everybody was wondering what we were waiting for.”

Rio Ferdinand also added: 

“We were on the bus afterwards waiting for chief executive David Gill and the boss Alex Ferguson. We were just willing them to sign Ronaldo. Within a week he was our player.” 

Ronaldo was United's greatest number 7

Even Mikael Silvestre will never forget that performance.

“It was an incredible performance to watch that night,” he said.

“This kid nobody knew tore us apart for the whole game. No one could get near him; he was amazing. 

Ronaldo dazzled United in 2003

“At the start, no one had even heard of Ronaldo, but by the end, everyone knew about him.” 

If it wasn’t for that performance in 2003, Man United may never have signed CR7 and we may never have seen him rip Arsenal apart six years later. 

Thankfully, Sir Alex did the right thing and the rest, as they say, is history. 

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