It comes as no surprise that Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the greatest players to ever grace the game, has had some incredible teammates over the years. The Portuguese superstar has shared the stage with legends of the past and present.
From the era of icons such as Ryan Giggs and Luis Figo to more modern legends such as Toni Kroos and Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo's best XI of teammates consists of several high-profile names. Karim Benzema is his most prolific teammate in terms of the number of goal contributions together (76), while he's played for the longest time on the pitch with Sergio Ramos (28,440 minutes).
However, in a professional career that has spanned nearly two decades, Cristiano Ronaldo has also had a number of noteworthy teammates that even the most ardent supporters of the forward might not remember.
Whether they've shared the pitch with him for only a minute or a season, it is quite remarkable that they've had the privilege of lining up next to the five-time Ballon d'Or winner. On that note, here is a look at five such interesting names.
5 Players who you didn't know played with Cristiano Ronaldo
#5 Marcos Alonso | Real Madrid
Spanish wing-back Marcos Alonso has made a name for himself by playing a crucial part in Chelsea's Premier League win under Antonio Conte, but not many know of his rich heritage. The 30-year-old is a third-generation professional footballer as his grandfather, Marcos Alonso Imaz, spent eight years at Real Madrid, and his father, Marcos Alonso Pena, played for Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.
Alonso followed in their footsteps and played for a decade in Spain, coming through the ranks at Real Madrid's famous La Fabrica. During his time at the club as a youngster, he was able to train with first-team stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo.
The wing-back recalled his experience at Real Madrid later on, saying;
"I was training with Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, and I was only 16 or 17 years old. I was going 120 percent! It was a dream come true."
The Spaniard made his league debut for Los Bancos during a league game against Racing Santander back in April 2010 — a game in which Cristiano Ronaldo netted the winner. Alonso came on as a late substitute for the other goalscorer of the game, Gonzalo Higuain.
#4 Fabinho | Real Madrid
Liverpool star Fabinho is another player who spent time at Real Madrid's famous La Fabrica before moving elsewhere to find regular football. The Brazilian was acquired by the Blancos shortly after his move to Rio Ave and spent a year at the Spanish capital before departing for France.
After impressing for the Castilla side, Jose Mourinho promoted Fabinho to the senior side for their LaLiga game against Malaga in 2013, which they won by a scoreline of 6-2. Cristiano Ronaldo set up two goals and notched his 200th strike for the club. Fabinho made his Blancos debut as he came on for the last 14 minutes and managed to set up Angel Di Maria for Real Madrid's sixth of the evening.
The Brazilian was in awe of the fact that he got to make his debut for Real Madrid and lined up alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. He reserved special praise for him after the game, saying;
"He's [Cristiano Ronaldo] incredible and I'm really pleased to have played by his side."
Fabinho then returned to Rio Ave before another loan spell at AS Monaco, and the rest is history. He now has a Premier League and UEFA Champions League title to his name with Liverpool.
#3 Henrik Larsson | Manchester United
Henrik Larsson might have spent only a couple of months at Manchester United, but the impact he had at the club during that time was simply incredible.
The then-34-year-old, who had just finished the domestic campaign with Helsingborgs in his homeland, was brought in by Manchester United on a short-term deal. It was Larsson's final venture into the top tier of European football, and he impressed profoundly during his time with the Red Devils.
It was during this spell that the Swedish legend played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. He shared the stage with the Portuguese on 11 occasions, and Cristiano Ronaldo assisted Larsson's goal in the veteran centre-forward's last appearance at Old Trafford in a UCL game against Lille.
The 49-year-old is currently working alongside his former Feyenoord teammate Ronald Koeman as an assistant at Barcelona, with whom he won two LaLiga titles in two years. Larsson also assisted both of Barcelona's goals in the 2006 UCL final.
#2 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer | Manchester United
Before he took over at Manchester United as head coach, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was a firm fan favorite. The Norwegian striker was one of Sir Alex Ferguson's go-to game-changers off the bench as he scored a goal every 92.9 minutes for the Red Devils as a substitute.
Solskjaer was part of the same squad as Cristiano Ronaldo for just over four seasons towards the end of his career, while the Portuguese was still just a wiry yet impressive teenager. They spent just over 1,000 minutes on the pitch together across 32 games, during which they combined for four goals across all competitions. Solskjaer revealed his admiration for Cristiano Ronaldo, saying;
"Having played with him, I could always see the desire in Cristiano from his early days. We would need to guide him once in a while but he always wanted to be the best in the world and would never let anyone come between him and his goal. That says a lot about his tough mentality."
The Norwegian worked with Cristiano Ronaldo as part of the backroom staff even after his retirement. The Portuguese also had great things to say about Solskjaer. He expressed;
"He’s very good. I look for Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] like a man, not just coach now. He’s a fantastic guy and I have a great relationship with him."
Solskjaer even revealed later on that he had consulted Cristiano Ronaldo prior to signing his compatriot, Bruno Fernandes, from his former club Sporting CP.
#1 Gerard Pique | Manchester United
Barcelona legend Gerard Pique might have had his fair share of tussles with Cristiano Ronaldo on and off the pitch over the years, but he is one of the only few footballers fortunate enough to play alongside him and Leo Messi at club level. The Spanish defender spent four years on the books of Manchester United during which he lined up next to Cristiano Ronaldo.
The pair featured on the pitch together on 15 occasions during his short-lived time at the club, during which he won the Premier League and the UCL, before he returned to his boyhood club Barcelona. It was with the Catalan giants that Pique made a name for himself as one of the best defenders of his generation, winning a staggering eight LaLiga titles and three UCLs with them.
Although Pique also went on to have a number of battles with Cristiano Ronaldo upon the latter's move to Real Madrid, he holds the Portuguese in high regard. Speaking on his time playing with him at Old Trafford, he expressed;
"As a team-mate, Cristiano Ronaldo is a perfect ‘10’. I admire him professionally because he sets an example to follow both as a player and as a person."
Overall, Pique played 23 times for Manchester United and went on to make 559 appearances for Barcelona.