Cristiano Ronaldo is considered as a modern day legend in the world of football, playing scintillating football for Real Madrid and scoring goals for fun. But that was not always the case for the talented Portuguese captain. When Manchester United manager signed the 18 year old winger with precocious talent for £ 12.8 million, at that time the highest transfer fee for a teenaged player, many were raising their eyebrows at the acquisition. People were even more skeptical when the youngster was given the famous No. 7 shirt at United, replacing a legend in the form of David Beckham, who had left the club to join Real Madrid.
He made his debut against Bolton Wanderers in a 4-0 drubbing at home and immediately caught the attention of fans and critics with his fast pace and footwork. However, as the matches went by and Ronaldo began to play more regularly, the consensus was that the youngster was too selfish for a winger, choosing to score himself than passing the ball to players who were in better positions.
He was called up to the Portugal national team for EURO 2004 at home and finished with a runner up medal. Back in the English Premier League, he still continued to wow and frustrate the fans at the same time with his brilliant talents and selfishness. He had been at Old Trafford for 2 years now and he still hadn’t lived up to his huge transfer fee and was at best, a squad player for the illustrious team.
With the advent of the FIFA World Cup in 2006, a lot was expected from Ronaldo and the tournament was seen as a passing on of mantles between Luis Figo, who would retire at the end of the tournament and Ronaldo. But controversy managed to get the better headlines as Ronaldo found himself involved in a tussle that saw his Manchester United team mate Wayne Rooney sent off during the quarter final match between Portugal and England.
That incident saw his popularity plummet hugely with fans calling Ferguson to sell him and he was termed selfish. But after his return to the League, Ronaldo just burst onto the stage and he was the driving force behind United winning the title after 3 years. But the next season was to get even better as he scored a club record 42 goals in all competitions, leading the club to League and European double.
And sure enough, rumors of a transfer began to circulate in the media and completely ruined his focus. Although he still led United to another League title, the loss in the UEFA Champions League final to Barcelona was the point where he decided he had given the club all he could and he needed a new challenge. Real Madrid came in with a record £ 80 million bid for him and United had no option but sell.
In Spain, Ronaldo has continued to blossom and he has already scored 146 goals in 144 appearances for the capital giants.