Out of his six years at Old Trafford, Cristiano Ronaldo spent three in the spotlight. After the infamous incident in the 2006 World Cup involving him and Wayne Rooney, critics and boos became part of Ronaldo’s professional and private lives.
The “Winking hero” suddenly transformed into England’s number one most hated personality. While a vast majority of football fans took pleasure in threatening him to move from Manchester United and from the country as well, most analysts tipped Ronaldo to suffer career nightmares whereas Rooney would excel.
But these predictions never came true. Cristiano Ronaldo received the backing of Alex Ferguson and the grown kid from Madeira soon became Manchester United’s most impressive player—a real ace.
Cristiano Ronaldo gained more confidence and always went out to prove his critics wrong although they never seemed to shut up. The Portuguese winger visibly played under pressure—this pressure that was created by anti-Ronaldo supporters and by the fact that he had to play for a team that was not his childhood dream club.
Despite these problems, Cristiano Ronaldo battled hard to defend his worth by powering Manchester United to their first league title in three years. The winger netted 23 goals (17 in the English Premier League) and became Manchester United’s top scorer at the end of the 2006/2007 season.
Some called his achievement “luck” and once again predicted that he wouldn’t be able to match the standard that he had set.
Well, Cristiano Ronaldo even went steps further to break his own record. The following season, he netted 42 goals in all competition which helped Manchester United to land the Champions League and the English Premier League titles.
Last year, Ronaldo’s season was tarnished by the transfer saga and by an ankle operation which saw him miss the start of Manchester United’s campaign.
Either way, Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2008/2009 season can be marked by so many memorable things: his dazzling performance in Japan that helped the Red Devils to lift the Fifa World Club Cup trophy; his wonder goal against Porto FC that fired Manchester United to the semi-finals of the Champions League, his brace against Arsenal in Europe, his vital equalizer against Aston Villa, the list goes on…
During that final year at Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo also scored his 100th goal for the club with a 30-yard free-kick against Stoke City. One person who keeps reflecting on Cristiano Ronaldo’s influence in Manchester is Chelsea’s Frank Lampard.
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