Champions League

Cristiano Ronaldo Turns 36: Recalling 7 Remarkable Moments

Even with having 36 candles layered on his cake on Friday, Cristiano Ronaldo is incredibly going strong without any stopping.

Hailing from a tiny island in Madeira, the flushed 18-year-old first started his youth career by playing for Sporting Lisbon. With being an absolute goal-scoring machine, he primarily got hold of fame after exhibiting his amazing talent against a friendly with Manchester United, in 2003.

This game somehow caught the attention of Sir Alex Ferguson, who very well seemed eager to sign the Portugal prodigy.

After successfully spending six memorable seasons at Manchester United, Ronaldo left the Red Devils and joined hands with Real Madrid in 2009. He later signed with the Italian champs, Juventus in 2018 after pleasing Los Blancos for eight beautiful years.

The Portuguese genius, over the years, has been an absolute wonder —displaying his effortless long-range goals, stunning free kicks and crazy headers on the field.

He till date shows no signs of slowing down and bet he will continue to do the same until he hangs his boots. However, here is a perfect opportunity to look back upon his career and recall his remarkable moments with his three beloved club(s) and country.

Thunderbolt strike against Portsmouth, January 2008:

If scoring free kicks is an art then the Portugal star is Picasso of it. And the one against Portsmouth was of great finesse, still echoing in the minds of million people. Ronaldo had already put forth the Red Devils after slipping the ball past David James. However, after 3 minutes or so, United were awarded a free-kick.

Along with Wayne Rooney, Ronaldo, all calm and composed took four steps back and lashed a sensational free-kick at the top left corner of the goalpost — leaving both sides stunned and baffled under the starlight at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo’ double treat later led Manchester United to find themselves sit at the top of the table. His impressive free-kick also put Sir Alex Ferguson’ side ahead in the Premier League title race.

40 Yards of Magic vs Porto, April 2009:

The number 7 doesn’t fall short when it comes to scoring free kicks, or astonishing goals either.

Ronaldo faced FC Porto — the rivals of his former club, Sporting Lisbon during the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. He slowly stole the show after displaying an impressive game in his homeland, Portugal.

Anderson‘ mighty pass made Ronaldo pick up the ball from Porto’ scattered midfield. And within 6 minutes, Ron stroke an absolute beauty from a distance worth of 40 yards.

After netting a superb yet incredible screamer past Helton, Ronaldo’ only goal further sealed a spot for the team in the competition. His long-range goal, later that year, won the FIFA Puskas award and was also voted as ‘Goal of the Decade’ in Manchester United‘ folklore.

Early Taste of Victory, April 2012:

It is obvious to call Cristiano Ronaldo the master of helping his team savor the decadent taste of early victory. Tis’ was El Clasico night, when Real Madrid defeated La Liga champs, FC Barcelona in their own ground.

Sami Khedira had already put the Los Blancos ahead of the whole of the first half. However, Alexis Sanchez‘ 70th minute opener restored the hopes of the Catalan giants. But that hope was soon extinguished, as Mesut Ozil made a fierce pass and Ronaldo pulled a decisive goal past Victor Valdes.

After this sweet triumph, Jose Mourinho‘ side took a giant leap and sat tight at the top of the table. They also happened to wrestle away the title from their rivals, the first time since 2008.

Road to Glory, November 2013:

The former Real Madrid sensation whacked Sweden by scoring an incredible hat-trick, to send his country into the 2014 World Cup qualifiers in Brazil. With having the yellow Swedish wave barricading the defense, Ronaldo still managed to dazzle past them and score three amazing goals.

Even if Zlatan Ibrahimovic displayed an excellent game by scoring two goals for his nation, it was Ronaldo who rocked the stage the whole time.

Somersaulting in reverse, April 2018:

This goal was the epitome of pure class, which took the wind out of Juventus‘ sails in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.

Ronaldo’ first goal already gave Real Madrid a hand ahead in the game. However the Portugal international bought the world to a standstill, after netting a gracious overhead kick outshining Gianluigi Buffon‘ gloves. Marcelo, later, spiced up the scoreboard and wrapped up a comfortable win for the team in style.

Ronaldo’ courtesy led Madrid to the final road in Kyiv, where they were reigned as European champions after beating Liverpool.

Ripping through Atletico Madrid, March 2019:

Cristiano Ronaldo was on fire that night, as he nailed down Atletico Madrid with a brilliant comeback during the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League.

After suffering a bitter 2-0 defeat in the first leg, Ronaldo went on scoring a sensational hat-trick against Los Rojiblancos in the second leg. With exerting utter dominance from the start, the breakthrough came along when Ronaldo scored an opener in the 27th minute. He later went on scoring another header, just a few minutes after the break.

The Portugal superstar, in the final minutes, wrapped up his hat-trick by scoring a penalty after Angel Correa was caught in pushing Federico Bernardeschi. His great effort further sealed a spot of the team in the further round of the championship.

Hail the Heavens, December 2019:

Ronaldo was hot on his heels that night, after he fired a gravity-defying header against Sampdoria.

Paulo Dybala‘ early 20th-minute goal already gave the Italian champions the lead. Until the opponents tallied the score just 10 minutes before half time. However, Alex Sandro‘ cross at the edge of the first half was successfully tackled by the Portuguese talent. Who howsoever leaped high and scored a jaw-dropping and mind-blowing header.

Ronaldo and his awe-inspiring header later sent Juventus at the top of the table.

Even after seeing himself through a number of clubs, he has established himself as the greatest in the history of football. And to many more years ahead of him, it is of pure joy to behold the talent of one of the best. Happy birthday, Cristiano Ronaldo!

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