Cristiano Ronaldo: Wayne Rooney’s brutal tackle on Man Utd star in 2003 remembered

  • Rob Swan

It’s been 11 years since Cristiano Ronaldo last played in the Premier League.

The legendary Portuguese forward is poised to make his second Manchester United debut against Newcastle on September 11 following his surprise move from Juventus at the end of the summer transfer window.

Ronaldo originally left United for Real Madrid in 2009 after helping the Red Devils win a third consecutive Premier League title.

He went on to establish his status as an all-time great at the Bernabeu before moving to Juventus in 2018.

And after three years in Turin, Ronaldo decided it was time to embark on a new challenge away from Serie A.

Manchester City were keen on bringing the 36-year-old to the Etihad Stadium but when United entered the race, there was only ever going to be one outcome – especially once Sir Alex Ferguson got on the phone.


Fergie was, of course, the man who brought Ronaldo to England from Sporting Lisbon back in 2003.

Young Cristiano immediately caught the eye at Old Trafford thanks to his incredible skill and self-confidence.

But where the Portuguese winger was so raw, he could also be extremely frustrating – both in the eyes of his teammates (who couldn’t predict what he was going to do next) and opponents.


Rooney’s brutal challenge on Ronaldo remembered

Ronaldo loved to embarrass opponents with his tricky but was given a brutal introduction to English football by his future teammate Rooney during a meeting between United and Everton in December 2003.

With his team trailing 2-1 at Old Trafford, Rooney had enough of Ronaldo’s showboating and scythed the winger down with a brutal challenge.

Watch it here…

How the Englishman avoided a straight red card for that tackle… well, only Mike Dean can answer that one.

The referee only showed Rooney a yellow card and United fans were fuming with the opposition striker.


United eventually ran out 3-2 winners thanks to goals from Nicky Butt, Kleberson and David Bellion.

Eight months later, Rooney and Ronaldo became teammates at Man Utd and the rest is history.

Now wiser, more streetwise and a lot more revered than he was 18 years ago, it’ll be fascinating to see what kind of treatment Ronaldo is subjected to by Premier League players this season.


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