It’s nearly impossible to define everything about Cristiano Ronaldo’s glittering career through words. It’s even more difficult to pick out just 5 defining moments from a journey which has seen numerous twists and turns.
But today, on his birthday, we’ll put our sincerest of efforts to compile a list of key events which defined the man from Madeira.
Happy 33rd, Cristiano Ronaldo!!
5. Manchester United Debut
August 2003, Manchester United versus Bolton, 61 minutes on the clock, and on came a lanky kid in place of Nicky Butt. It’s funny mentioning a fifteen-year-old event, which didn’t even look significant at that point, realizing how far the kid has come.
It was a sensational performance from the Portuguese, keeping the Bolton players on their toes, and even winning a penalty. Manchester United went on to win the match 4-0 in the end.
The kid became one of the best players to have donned the Manchester United jersey over the years and developed into one of the greatest players to ever grace the field and finally in 2008, he got acknowledged for it.
4. World’s Best
Cristiano was up there on the podium a year earlier, but beating Ricardo Kaka was never going to be an easy feat after the season the Brazilian had.
But Cristiano Ronaldo was just getting started. A fantastic domestic campaign paired with the Champions League crown at the end of the season pushed him ahead of the curve, and just like that, the little boy from Madeira sat on the throne which he couldn’t even dream of just a few years back.
3. Move to Madrid
Manchester United made him the best in the world, and to no-one’s surprise, Real Madrid came to snatch him up. After almost a year of negotiations, Cristiano Ronaldo decided to head to Madrid, igniting the greatest rivalry the footballing world had ever witnessed.
A packed Santiago Bernabeu welcomed their latest Galactico, Cristiano shouted “Hala Madrid!” and the entire stadium bowed down the prince. The prince who could save them from the onslaught of their bitterest rivals.
2. World’s Best, Once Again
Cristiano’s move to Real Madrid coincided with the rise of one of the best teams in the history of the sport. Barcelona, fueled by their majestic talisman, Lionel Messi, were getting the better of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Madrid on every single occasion.
Jose Mourinho broke Barcelona’s monopoly in the league by winning the league title in 2011/12, but individually Lionel Messi was leaps and bounds ahead. He kept racking up the Ballon d’Ors, four on the trot. Cristiano was done and dusted, the critics claimed.
On came Carlo Ancelotti and Real Madrid were back to where they belonged, at the top of the food chain. Cristiano claimed the award back in 2013, his 2nd. In the next 4 years, he added three more, equaling Lionel Messi’s tally.
1. European Champions
EURO 2004, Cristiano Ronaldo stood there on the pitch, tears in his eyes, after losing the final to Greece. 12 years later, he was once again in tears, with a subtle tweak. He had just won his country’s first major silverware, against all odds, against the mighty Frenchmen.
After having a stellar tournament, Cristiano Ronaldo was ready to set the final on fire. But his role on the pitch was reduced to just 30 minutes after he was forced to come off. He went straight down the tunnel, patched himself up and came back to the bench to cheer his team from the sidelines.
You could see in his eyes how desperate he was to help his team. And when Eder finally scored the winner, minutes before the whistle, he could sense what his side had achieved just then. He became the champion of Europe again, this time, with Portugal.
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