When Cristiano Ronaldo so famously burst onto the scene at Manchester United in 2003, he immediately became renowned for his skill and quick feet.
A step over here and a heel chop there, the Portuguese was a bag of tricks and defending against him proved nigh-on impossible.
Even before his days at United it was clear what kind of player Ronaldo was destined to become.
Difference between ronaldo and messi
In the summer of 2003, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side travelled to face Sporting Lisbon in a pre-season friendly and it was during that game Ronaldo announced himself.
The teenager destroyed United from start to finish. He was so good that the likes of Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville were desperate for Fergie to sign him, only to find out a deal was already done.
I love this game
“It was the first time I’d seen Cristiano Ronaldo play,” said Neville last year. “He was up against John O’Shea, who was obviously a good defender; he was strong, he was quick and he knew where to position himself.
“I specifically remember Cristiano making a certain move where he cut inside and ran between O’Shea and our centre-half. He made this double movement and I remember thinking ‘oh my God’.
“I remember watching Cristiano make that run between the full-back and centre-back and thinking ‘wow, you don’t normally see that from experienced players, never mind a young kid’.
Before match they called “Messi, Leo Messi”
Cristiano Ronaldo scored an amazing hattrick and said to them “I can’t hear you know”
“What a player, I thought. After the match I remember sending a text to my brother (Phil), saying ‘we need to sign him’ and apparently there was a lot of talk about him on the coach after the game.”
And the rest is history. Ronaldo stayed at United for six years, winning the Champions League and Ballon d’Or, before moving to Real Madrid in 2009, where he remains.
Now into his 30s, the Portugal international is currently one of the world’s best players but has had to adapt his game over the past few years.
CR7JUNIOR singing song
One aspect of Ronaldo that’s changed are his skills; he doesn’t perform trickery nearly as much as he used to.
Well, according to the man himself, that was a decision he made years ago because he realised goals and assists were more important than skills. Basically, he matured.
“In a game the most important thing is to win, and goals helps to win,” said Ronaldo in the below interview with freestyler Touzani.
Cristiano Ronaldo finished? NEVER!
“You can mix – first goals, and after tricks and assists after. What the people want is goals, so I try to score goals.
“I still do it (skills), not the same as at Manchester, but I still do it. Now I prefer goals, am focused more on goals. Skills comes third.”
Ronaldo’s decision to focus more on goals and less on trickery was a smart one, hence why he’s about to win his fifth Ballon d’Or. Clearly, there are more important things in football than skills.
Ronaldo 74 Seconds Skills