Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Manchester United in 2003 was sealed by his outstanding performance for Sporting in a friendly against the Red Devils.

Legend has it that United’s players were so awestruck with the young winger that they urged Sir Alex Ferguson to strike a deal there and then.

And so he did. Within the week, Cristiano Ronaldo was presented as a Manchester United player, and the rest is history.

(Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Now with Ronaldo sealing his return to Manchester United 18 years on, the poor defender who went up against him in 2003 has been reflecting on the deal.

John O’Shea was twisted inside and out by a sprightly young Ronaldo, and while it was a performance he would probably rather forget, ultimately it worked out quite well.

The Irishman posted on social media after Ronaldo’s 2021 return to reflect on the turn of events.

While O’Shea blamed his performance on jet lag, his Manchester United teammates disagreed.


Nicky Butt joked (we think) that O’Shea was hungover, while Rio Ferdinand poked fun at how the full-back was ‘torched’ by a young Ronaldo.

Nicky Butt had his own famous role in Ronaldo’s Manchester United legacy too.

Butt was the player substituted off at home to Bolton Wanderers when Ronaldo made his sensational debut in the 4-0 win.

The former academy coach also sent a message to Ronaldo welcoming him back to Old Trafford.

Ronaldo’s return has been widely welcomed among the extended United family.

Former coach Rene Meulensteen also hailed his return and said decisively that Ronaldo will bring goals back with him.

Ronaldo’s return still doesn’t quite feel real, but it soon will. His first game is likely to be against Newcastle on September 10.

It will be at Old Trafford and he will get a huge spine-tingling reception from 76,000 fans.

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