Featured Image: PA
It's one of the most famous nights in Manchester United's history, although no one knew it at the time, especially not John O'Shea. Thirteen years later though, the Irish defender can recall his first meeting with Cristiano Ronaldo a bit more fondly.
On that night in Lisbon, O'Shea was tasked with marking an 18-year-old during a pre-season friendly. Instead of marking the future three time Ballon d'Or winner, however, O'Shea spent the game wondering where the young Portuguese winger went every time he received the ball.
In an interview with ESPN, O'Shea has attempted to set the record straight in an attempt to perhaps save a bit of face after years of ridicule:
"Now in some books written by former colleagues, there have been some highly exaggerated stories, and believe it or not, about how much 'Ronnie' went past me time after time, and ripped me apart!
"My version would be different, but he did have an excellent game. At one stage, I remember looking at the dugout when the ball had gone out for a throw-in and some of the lads on the bench were having a good laugh, thinking that's the last thing you need when jet-lagged - a young lad wanting to run at you time and time again, going left, going right, twisting turning, shooting every time he got within distance of the goal.
"I let you skin me all those times in that friendly, pal" (Image: PA)
"But in a roundabout way, I take it as a compliment that the boss wanted to sign Ronaldo so quickly after the game, because of how he had performed against me that night."
Ronaldo would join United just a week later, so O'Shea could relive the Sporting CP nightmare every day in training until Cristiano left for Real Madrid in 2009 for a then world record fee of £80m.
(H/T 101 Great Goals)
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