When Cristiano Ronaldo first came to United it was apparent to all who watched him on a weekly basis that he was one day going to be a superstar. I don’t suppose even his biggest fan could have predicted exactly how good he would become though.
“There’s only one Ronaldo!” our fans used to chant in jest, with our skinny teenager, who this country labelled a ‘one trick pony’ hardly comparable with the Brazilian Ronaldo, who had just been named the best player in the world.
But every year after signing he developed in to a better player, with 2008 the defining year for him. He scored 42 goals in 47 games for United, including our only goal in the European Cup final as we beat Chelsea to win the cup for a third time. I remember thinking then, foolishly, that he would never better that record. He was crowned as the best player in England, Europe and the world. Nobody could touch him.
Ronaldo became the most expensive player in the history of the game the following summer, signing for Real Madrid for a massive £80m. At the end of that season he had scored 33 goals in 35 games. This was still a ridiculous record but his goal tally at United still dwarfed his first season in Spain.
However, the following season he scored 53 goals in 54 games, the year after 60 goals in 55 games, the year after 55 goals in 55 games, and he’s currently on 29 goals in 22 games.
Cristiano Ronaldo now has 400 career goals, including 353 at club level. Interestingly enough, the Brazilian Ronaldo scored 352.
Aged just 28, it’s scary to think of all of what our Ronaldo might have achieved by the time he retires.