Cristiano Ronaldo made his debut 19 years ago today and his performance against Bolton Wanderers was a hell of a start to his Premier League career.
Few knew much about the young Portuguese winger, who was handed Beckham's number seven shirt, and didn't know what to expect from him.
I can remember overhearing two fans of a rival club talking in All:Sports, it's a long time ago remember, when one claimed that United had only signed him for shirt sales because his name was 'Ronaldo,' and they couldn't get the Brazilian.
Comparisons to 'R9' would be far more complimentary in future years and he very quickly shut those rival fans up on debut on August 16th 2003, although he'd already made an impact on his teammates.
At 1-0 to United, Sir Alex Ferguson replaced Nicky Butt with his new signing, with the game ending 4-0 to the hosts and the teenager had a brilliant performance, as the highlights prove.
ON THIS DAY 2003: Cristiano Ronaldo made his Man Utd debut. Changing the course of football forever…— Emma Ten Ham💙🇾🇪🔴 (@EmmaHam41) August 16, 2022
He lapped up every ounce of experience from our senior players, was eager to learn, maybe if our players did this now, we’d be going places #MUFC 🔴🇾🇪
Ryan Giggs had put the home side ahead in the first half but it wasn't until the new United youngster came on that they added to the score.
Giggs got the second before Paul Scholes and Ruud van Nistelrooy added the third and fourth strikes to give the scoreline the feeling of an absolute battering.
Whilst it was a warning to the rest of the world what was to come, the United players were more than aware what was going to happen when Ronaldo signed.
As the story goes, earlier that summer the English side took on Sporting in a pre season friendly and the teenager impressed so much that they spoke to Fergie about signing him.
Giggs explained that they found out a deal was happening later on the coach home, saying, "He just lit up the game, all the lads were talking to him after the game and I remember we were waiting on the coach and everybody was wondering what we were waiting for."
Incredibly, Liverpool had also been handed the chance to sign the then 18-year-old from Sporting, just before United made their bid.
However, Gerard Houllier decided against making an offer due to the wages he wanted and the fact the Reds already had young prospects Florent Sinama Pongolle and Anthony le Tallec at the club.
It would turn out to be a terrible decision, with Pongolle and Le Tallec never making it as elite players and Ronaldo, well he ended up being better than his namesake in some people's eyes...
Featured Image Credit: Premier League
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