Cristiano Ronaldo’s first game for Manchester United was a moment that will go down in football history.
The Portuguese superstar arrived at Old Trafford in 2003 with a lot of hype surrounding him, but no one could have predicted just how much of an impact he would have on the club and the game as a whole.
In this article, we will delve into Ronaldo’s first game for Manchester United, exploring his performance, impact on the club, and the incredible career that followed.
From his humble beginnings at Sporting CP to his legendary status as one of the greatest players of all time, Ronaldo’s story is one of hard work, dedication, and unparalleled talent.
Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United Debut
Cristiano Ronaldo’s first game for Manchester United is one of the most iconic moments in the history of football. The Portuguese superstar made his debut for the club on August 16, 2003, in a Premier League match against Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford.
At the time, Ronaldo was just 18 years old and had been signed by United manager Sir Alex Ferguson from Sporting CP for a fee of £12.24 million.
There was a lot of hype surrounding Ronaldo, but no one could have predicted just how much of an impact he would have on the club and the game of football as a whole.
As soon as Ronaldo stepped onto the pitch, it was clear that he was a special talent. His pace, skill, and technical ability were immediately evident, and he looked like he had been playing at the highest level for years.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United debut came on the 60th minute, being brought on for Nicky Butt as the Old Trafford gave him a standing ovation.
Having initially requested the number 28 shirt he had worn for Sporting, Sir Alex Ferguson instead handed him the number 7 instead.
The number 7 had previously been worn by David Beckham, who left for Real Madrid earlier that summer. Nobody could have expected that a young Ronaldo would have an even bigger impact than the former England captain during his career.
He didn’t take long to make an impact, either. Just 10 minutes into his debut, Ronaldo was brought down in the box and won Manchester United a penalty. Unfortunately, Ruud Van Nistelrooy missed the spot kick.
He continued to create chances, switching from the left to the right wing whenever possibly. Using his quick feet and trickery to beat his defender, he caused havoc in the famously resolute Bolton back line.
While he didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet, the United fans had many good things to say about the young Portuguese.
Chants rang out throughout Old Trafford of “There’s Only One Ronaldo”, referencing the Brazilian striker who scored a hat-trick against the Red Devils the season prior.
Ronaldo’s performance in that first game was a sign of things to come. He went on to score his first goal for the club in a League Cup match against Portsmouth just a few weeks later, and quickly established himself as one of the most exciting young players in the game.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Future
Over the next six years, Ronaldo would go on to become a legend at Manchester United. He helped the club win three Premier League titles, the FA Cup, two League Cups, and the Champions League.
He scored an incredible 118 goals in 292 appearances for the club and won the Ballon d’Or award as the world’s best player in 2008.
Ronaldo’s time at United was also marked by his rivalry with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. The two players were constantly compared to each other, and their battles on the pitch were the stuff of legend.
But no matter how intense their rivalry was, both players always had respect for each other’s abilities.
After leaving Manchester United in 2009 to join Real Madrid, Ronaldo continued to dominate the game, winning four more Ballon d’Or awards and helping Madrid win four Champions League titles. In 2018, he made a surprise move to Juventus, where he continues to play at the time of writing.
But even with all of his success since leaving United, Ronaldo has never forgotten the club that gave him his start in the game.
He has always spoken fondly of his time at Old Trafford and even returned to the club for an 18-month spell in 2021, before moving to Saudi Arabia after falling out with Eric Ten Haag.
In conclusion, Cristiano Ronaldo’s first game for Manchester United was the beginning of one of the greatest careers in the history of football. From his humble beginnings at Sporting CP to his incredible success at United, Real Madrid, and Juventus, Ronaldo has always been a player who has pushed himself to be the best.
And while he may be playing for a different club now, his time at Old Trafford will always be remembered as the moment when he first showed the world just how special he truly was.