Football flashback: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United debut vs Bolton Wanderers

On 16 August 2003, Sir Alex Ferguson introduced the lanky 18-year-old as a second-half substitute against Bolton Wanderers on the opening day of the Premier League season. The approximately 60,000 fans at Old Trafford knew who he was, but did not know what to expect from him. In the 61st minute of the game, Cristiano Ronaldo came on for Nicky Butt, wearing the famous number 7 jersey with gold stripes in his hair. And the rest is history.

The first two or three touches of his shining silver shoes seemed very restless. But by the time his cameo ended, he had given Bolton right-back Nicky Hunt nightmares, won a penalty which Van Nistelrooy missed, created another golden chance for the Dutchman and set up Giggs’ second goal. were involved in

In stoppage time, he was confident enough to ask Phil Neville to step aside and take the free kick. Ronaldo played less than 30 minutes, but during that time United had stormed to a 4–0 victory over Bolton.

Cristiano Ronaldo – “A New Hero Was Born”

Giggs scored twice, Scholes was brilliant, but after the match all anyone wanted to talk about was Ronaldo. Ferguson, usually careful not to put too much pressure on young players, said United fans had “a new hero”.

The United manager said, “It was a great start, almost unbelievable.” “I thought the pace was too slow in the first half and I knew Cristiano would add penetration. We have to be careful with the boy. You must remember he is only 18. When we use him we have to judge him.” Will happen.’

Bolton boss Sam Allardyce admitted that he expected Ronaldo to make his debut later in the season after talks with striker Mario Jardel, Ronaldo’s former teammate at Sporting.

“After what Mario told us, we were expecting him not even to be on the bench,” Allardyce said. “He reminds me of Ryan Giggs when he first started. He can move inside, outside, use both feet and run at people. Everyone holds their breath when he gets the ball.

from a number. 7 to another

Even one of United’s greatest number 7s was impressed.

George Best said, “It was undoubtedly the most exciting debut performance I have ever seen.” “There have been players that have some similarities [to me], but this guy has more than anyone else, especially since he’s actually two-legged. He can play on either wing, beat players with ease and can set up dangerous crosses with either his left or right pegs. When was the last time you saw?”

In six years at Old Trafford, he won it all – three Premier League titles, two League Cups, the FA Cup, the Club World Cup and the Champions League.

United’s Premier League and Champions League double in 2008 was built on his goals – an astonishing 42 in 49 games, including one in the Champions League final against Chelsea – and he was named World Player of the Year for the first time.

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