5 players you didn't know played with Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo and Jerzy Dudek
Cristiano Ronaldo and Jerzy Dudek

The career of Cristiano Ronaldo has witnessed some remarkable moments. Incredible highs, superb performances, and unprecedented success. But during the trophy-laden career of the Portuguese forward, he has managed to play alongside players who you may have forgotten about.

From his time at Sporting Lisbon to his breakthrough onto the world stage at Old Trafford, Ronaldo’s supreme talent has shone through alongside some of the game's greatest ever players. However, unfortunately for Ronaldo, he's also had to play alongside some of the sport's not such well-known names as well.

Ronaldo famously (infamously for many) made the world record move to Real Madrid in 2009, and under the limelight at the Bernabeu, he shone even brighter before moving to Juventus in 2018.

But who are these players most people forget played alongside the Portuguese international?

Here are five names to refresh your memory.

5. Tim Howard (2003-2005)

American goalkeeper Howard was brought in to replace Fabian Barthez
American goalkeeper Howard was brought in to replace Fabian Barthez

In the summer of 2003, Manchester United not only signed Cristiano Ronaldo from under the noses of Premier League title rivals Arsenal, but they also managed to sign US international goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Howard arrived at Old Trafford expecting to replace Fabian Barthez who had desperately struggled for form following his big-money move from Monaco. Aged just 23, Howard played with Ronaldo on the summer tour of America and also played alongside the Portuguese winger for three years.

Despite an impressive start to his career in England (he was in the PFA Team of the Season in his first year in England), Howard soon floundered and played second fiddle to Northern Irish goalkeeper Roy Carroll.

Many people would forget Howard's United career due to his longevity at Goodison Park - a move he made in 2006. Nonetheless, despite his average United career, Howard went on to become one of the most robust set of hands in the Premier League until he left in 2016.

He isn't the only surprise goalkeeper on this list.

4. Diego Forlan (2003-2004)

Diego Forlan shrugs off Anthony Gardener of Spurs
Diego Forlan shrugs off Anthony Gardener of Spurs

When Manchester United signed Diego Forlan from Independiente in 2002, the Red Devils supporters were salivating at the mouth regarding his potential and prospects.

Ronaldo played alongside Forlan for just one season before United opted to cut their losses on the Uruguayan international in August 2004. Villarreal manager Manuel Pellegrini ended his less-than-impressive stay at Old Trafford, and it was at El Madrigal he became one of the more deadly forwards on the continent.

But during their 2003-2004 season, Forlan managed to feature 32 times in the United first-team - 24 of those alongside Ronaldo. Ronaldo scored in the FA Cup final victory over Millwall at the Millenium Stadium, and the result saw the duo lift the cup in front of a capacity crowd.

With both players in the team, Ronaldo assisted Forlan zero times, and it didn't come as a surprise when he left following the arrival of Wayne Rooney in August 2004.

3. Quinton Fortune (2003-2006)

Fortune in action against West Bromwich Albion in 2004
Fortune in action against West Bromwich Albion in 2004

South African Quinton Fortune was one of many players Sir Alex Ferguson signed during his time at Old Trafford that would have struggled to play for any other prominent side across Europe. Injuries ravaged fortune during his seven-year stint at Old Trafford, but it was his two seasons between 2003-2005 where he made the most impact - alongside Ronaldo coincidentally.

Of his 126 games played for United between 1999 and 2006, he played 68 of those shortly after the club managed to sign Ronaldo in 2003. A midfielder by trade, Fortune was a utility player and regularly played behind Ronaldo as a left-back when the then-winger operated in a wide left role.

Also, Fortune played as a left-winger on certain occasions - a position that would have seen him play directly opposite the teenage winger. When you consider some of the names Ronaldo has played with recently, Fortune is one that escapes the memory of everyone for obvious reasons.

2. Christoph Metzelder (2009-2010)

Christoph Metzelder waving to the onlooking Madridistas
Christoph Metzelder waving to the onlooking Madridistas

Christoph Metzelder was once considered the future captain and leader of Germany. However, like Quinton Fortune, injuries tormented the career of Metzelder when everything seemed so promising.

In the summer of 2007, Metzelder opted for Real Madrid when he decided against renewing his contract with Borussia Dortmund. Nonetheless, in just two seasons before the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, Metzelder had featured only 28 times for Madrid in all competitions.

As previously mentioned, Ronaldo joined the club in 2009 when Manuel Pellegrini was appointed the manager of Los Blancos. It was under Pellegrini's tenure where the duo featured alongside each other, but it wasn't for long or regularly.

Metzelder featured just three times in his final season at the Bernabeu - a season where Ronaldo scored 33 goals in all competitions.

The German defender returned to Germany in 2010 where he featured 79 times for three years before retiring aged 33 in 2013. A career of what could have been rather than what was.

1. Jerzy Dudek (2009-2011)

A sympathetic Ronaldo alongside Dudek
A sympathetic Ronaldo alongside Dudek

Liverpool legend Jerzy Dudek opted to see out his contract at Anfield in 2007 and stunned the football world when he opted for a move to Real Madrid to play second fiddle to Iker Casillas.

The Polish international goalkeeper was the hero in Liverpool's Champions League-winning campaign of 2004-2005. Still, many had forgotten the Anfield hero played alongside the Old Trafford legend in Madrid for two years.

Ronaldo had the pleasure of featuring in just three appearances in which Dudek played during that time - as he was restricted to only sporadic cup appearances before leaving the club in 2011 to retire.

Dudek's impact in Madrid was significantly less than what he previously achieved in the Premier League. However, these once great rivals in the biggest fixture in English football meant nothing when these two played in front of a capacity crowd at the Bernabeu.

Had you forgotten Dudek and Ronaldo played together?

Quick Links

Edited by Staff Editor