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18 Years Ago Today Ronaldo Earned A Standing Ovation At Manchester United

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18 Years Ago Today Ronaldo Earned A Standing Ovation At Manchester United

18 years ago today, Ronaldo had such an incredible performance that Manchester United fans gave him a standing ovation for knocking their team out of the Champions League.

El Fenomeno most iconic moments may have come in a Brazil shirt but probably one of the best performances in his career came for Real Madrid.

It was the second leg of the Champions League quarter final 18 years ago. Ronaldo and his fellow Galacticos arrived in Manchester with a 3-1 lead from the home leg.

By the time the Brazilian was removed in 67th minute of the game, he had broken the hearts of United fans but so good was his performance that they still rose to their feet to acknowledge him.

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The highlights from that night show exactly why he earned his standing ovation.

United earned their tie with the defending European champions by topping their group, that included Juventus, whilst Los Blancos finished behind AC Milan in their group. The two Italian sides would eventually meet at Old Trafford in the final.

Goals from Figo and Raul put Real in a very strong position in the first leg, with Ruud van Nistelrooy's strike in the Spanish capital giving Sir Alex Ferguson's side some hope.

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In the second leg Ronaldo cancelled the English side's away goal by striking first at Old Trafford, with just 12 minutes on the clock.

Van Nistelrooy once again gave his side some hope in the tie, scoring two minutes before half time to go into the break at 1-1, before the game went into turbo drive in the second half.

Ronaldo added his second five minutes after half time and, after Ivan Helguera's own goal two minutes later, the former Inter striker ended the tie on the hour mark to earn his hat-trick.

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His departure, coupled with David Beckham's entry off the bench, the winger had been dropped by Fergie and looked to be on the way out of the club following his infamous argument with the manager that February, nearly turned the game around.

After Ronaldo's standing ovation, Beckham scored twice, in the 71st and 85th minutes, but with away goals United were still two short of going through.

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The two men would be reunited only a few months later when the Englishman moved to Real for €37 million, following his falling out with Ferguson.

The pair caught up with each other on an Instagram Live last year with Ronaldo telling his former teammate he was one of the best of all time, "You were one the best of all time," the two time World Cup winner said.

"The way you touched the ball, the way you could put the ball wherever you wanted, without looking at me, I would just be moving and the ball came.

"I should thank you for the many balls you gave to me."

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On that night, 18 years ago, there was simply no doubt who the best in the world was!

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Football, Manchester United, Ronaldo, Premier League, R9, Champions League, Real Madrid, La Liga

Ryan Sidle
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