Five magic Cristiano Ronaldo moments at Manchester United
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PARIS - Cristiano Ronaldo is returning to Manchester United after 12 years away at Real Madrid and Juventus.
AFP Sport takes a look at five of the best moments from his first stint at Old Trafford.
Dazzling debut - August 2003
Ronaldo joined United after players urged coach Alex Ferguson to sign him following a pre-season friendly against Sporting Lisbon where the winger had dazzled. After a £12 million investment, Ronaldo made his debut in the red shirt coming off the bench with United a goal up against Bolton. Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs (twice) and Ruud Van Nistelrooy got the goals, but all the talk was about the new teenage winger.
That winking feeling - post 2006 World Cup
Ronaldo was caught winking on camera as his United teammate Wayne Rooney was sent off for England at the World Cup, making the winger a hate figure across England. Instead of wilting under pressure he took the ascendency from Rooney at the heart of United, ending the season as player of the year and scoring the winning goal at Manchester City as United won the 2007 Premier League.
First Champions League goals - April 2007-- Ronaldo produced one of his first true world class performances at Old Trafford in a 7-1 Champions League quarter-final win over Roma. His snapshot opener and far-post tap in were in fact less impressive than his overall performance dominated the game.
Towering header - May 2008
With Ronaldo's repertoire expanding, he added a new string to his bow with gravity defying high leaps to head goals home. One of the early examples was his opener for United in their Champions League final against Chelsea when he soared above the defence to bang home a Paul Scholes cross. The match eventually went to penalties and Ronaldo failed to convert from the spot when stepping up first. He threw himself to the ground sobbing in relief when Nicolas Anelka's spot kick was also saved as United emerged narrow winners in Moscow, despite his miss.
Puskas award - April 2009
In December, Ronaldo became the first United player to win the Ballon d'Or as best player in Europe since George Best a full 40 years earlier. His final season, however, was over-shadowed by a lurking Real Madrid and ankle injuries. But in Porto, Ronaldo scored a 35-metre wonder-strike in a Champions League quarter-final that won United the match and him the Puskas award for best European goal of the season. Ronaldo himself said it was the best goal he had ever scored.