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Cristiano Ronaldo's stunning Premier League debut with Manchester United

  • Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United debut was a landmark moment in Premier League history.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo spent nine years at Old Trafford and won three Premier League titles at the club.
Modified 13 May 2020, 16:24 IST

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo's Premier League debut with Manchester United was one for the ages.

Cristiano Ronaldo's stint with Manchester United in the Premier League put him on the map in world football, as he reached new heights at Old Trafford and sealed a world-record move to Real Madrid.

Ronaldo caught the eye when Manchester United took on Sporting Lisbon in a pre-season friendly. The 18-year-old made such a big impact that several playeres urged Sir Alex Ferguson to sign him up.

Little did they know that the Scotsman had already agreed a deal to take Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United for a £14 million deal, which was the world-record deal for a teenager in the Premier League at the time.

Four days later, Ronaldo made his debut in the Red Devils' first Premier League game of the season, a game that would go down in history as the birth of a footballing genius. With 61 minutes played on the clock and his side leading 1-0, Ronaldo replaced Nicky Butt and went on to make a massive impression.

Cristiano Ronaldo's - remember the name.

Cristiano Ronaldo spent nine years in England with Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo spent nine years in England with Manchester United

Donning the famous No. 7 shirt, Cristiano Ronaldo made such an impact without getting on the scoresheet that the game finished 4-0 to the Red Devils. The 18-year-old won a penalty, created an opportunity for Ruud van Nistelrooy and was involved in Ryan Giggs' second goal of the game despite being on the pitch for just 30 minutes.

Speaking after the game, a beaming Sir Alex Ferguson claimed that the Premier League outfit had to be careful with Ronaldo, adding that it was a marvellous debut.

"It was a marvellous debut, almost unbelievable. I thought the pace was too slow in the first half and I knew Cristiano would add penetration. We have to be careful with the boy. You must remember he is only 18. We are going to have to gauge when we use him."

Bolton manager Sam Allardyce also lavished praise on Cristiano Ronaldo, drawing parallels with fellow Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs.

Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo won three league titles together at Manchester United.
Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo won three league titles together at Manchester United.
"He reminds me of Ryan Giggs when he first started. He can go inside, outside, uses both feet and runs at people. Everyone holds their breath when he gets the ball."

The pick of the praise was from Manchester United great George Best, who also wore the famous No.7 for the Red Devils.

"It was undoubtedly the most exciting debut performance I've ever seen. There have been players who have some similarities [to me], but this lad's got more than anyone else, especially as he is genuinely two-footed. He can play on either wing, beat players with ease and put in dangerous crosses with his left or right peg. When was the last time you saw that?"

Ronaldo's debut set the tone for what was to come, as the Portuguese international established himself as one of the best players in the world. In his nine-year stint with Manchester United, the Portuguese superstar won three Premier League titles, 2 League Cups, an FA Cup, a Club World Cup and a UEFA Champions League trophy.

However, his crowning moment arrived in 2008, when he won the first of his five Ballon d'Or awards.

Cristiano Ronaldo's debut is an iconic moment in Premier League history, and the former Manchester United man is still going strong at the age of 35, as he continues to bang in the goals for club and country.

Published 13 May 2020, 16:24 IST
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