The Great Men's Cross 8: Cristiano Ronaldo 2

Cristiano Ronaldo

The Great Men's Cross: Cristiano Ronaldo 1
Ronaldo’s debut in the Premier League was a 4-0 home victory against Bolton Wanderers in August 2003. He was given a standing ovation at the end of the match for his performance after coming as a substitute for Nicky Butt at the 60th-minute. George Best was so elated about his performance and termed it as ‘the most exciting debut’ he had ever come across. On November 1, Ronaldo scored his first goal through a free kick in a 3-0 win against Portsmouth. He also scored three more goals in the last match  against Aston Villa on the day the season ended and this was the match Ronaldo received his first red card.

Also, his first trophy came when Ronaldo scored the opening goal in a FA cup final against Millwall. Ronaldo was the player to score Manchester United’s 1000th Premier League goal when they lost 4-1 to Middlesbrough on 29 October.
Ronaldo’s Setback
At Ronaldo’s third season in England, he was involved in several misbehaviors. One, he got a one-match ban from UEFA for using the ‘one-finger’ against the Benfica fans. He was also sent off in a Manchester Derby when he kicked Manchester City’s player Andy Cole while Manchester United lost the match 3-1. Further, Ronaldo clashed with former Manchester player, Ruud Van Nistelrooy when Nistelrooy complained about Ronaldo showing off when playing. In the 2006 FIFA World cup, Ronaldo was also involved in an incident which saw Wayne Rooney red-carded, and after the match, Ronaldo asked for a transfer on the TV claiming that the team and the club didn’t show him any support after the incidence. This was later debunked by the club.

Setback not Failure
Ronaldo was being booed after the altercation with Rooney throughout the 2006-07 season, instead of this discouraging him and negatively influencing his performance, Ronaldo rather performed excellently. This particular year was his breakout year when he first passed the 20-goal barrier he had never met and also had won his first Premier League title. 
This came about by the support and one-on-one training by his coach Rene Meulensteen, the first team coach who taught him various tactics, from making himself unpredictable, to call for the ball, improving his teamwork and see more of goal-scoring opportunities. This made him the Premier League Player of the month in both November and December and was the third player to receive such consecutive honors.

The Bounce-back
Ronaldo’s first-ever goals in the UEFA Champions League came at the quarter-final stage in a brace against Roma which ended 7 – 1 in favour of Manchester United. Similarly against Milan in the semi-final first leg, Ronaldo scored four minutes into the match and it ended 3-2 in favour of Manchester United. In the third leg however, Ronaldo was marked out and Manchester United lost 3-0 to Milan at the San Siro. 

Ronaldo helped Manchester United reach the FA Cup final but it was unfortunate they lost to Chelsea by 1-0 in the finals between the 2007-09 season. In a Manchester Derby within that season, Ronaldo scored the only goal in the match on 5 May, 2007 which was his 50th goal for the club and Manchester United won the Premier League title for that season which came after four years.

Due to Ronaldo’s incredible performances in this season, he won a lot of personal awards for that particular season which include; Professional Footballers’ Association’s Player’s Player, Young Player of the Year awards, Fan’s Player and also the Football Writers’ Association’s Footballer of the Year award; this therefore made him the first player to win all the four man PFA and FWA honours. This reflected on his wages as it was increased to whooping £120,000 a week as well as a contract extension of five years.
During the 2007-08 season, Ronaldo scored a total of 42 goals in all the competitions he participated in and this serves as his most prolific performance as well as his best season in England.

Learn your lesson
At one time, in a match against Portsmouth, Ronaldo misbehaved by head-butting a Portsmouth player at the start of the season which got him a three match-ban. However, he learnt his lesson from this; never to be provoked by the opponent (You are not the only one on the journey of life; the race and track are not meant for you alone, always know that you will meet detractors, those that just want you down for a reason, those that want to see you fall and not rise. 

Always see them as a path to your rise and greatness. If everybody is good to you, then know that you are not going far in life. Always see those that wish you bad as those that want good for you, this decreases your expectations from them as you get less disappointed. Remember, every fall in life has its own lesson. Make sure you learn the lesson after you have risen before you continue the journey).  

At the end of the 2007 season, Ronaldo came second to Kaka in the fight for Ballon d’Or and also came third to Kaka and Lionel Messi for the FIFA World Player of the Year award.
No level of Success is enough
One thing everyone knows about Ronaldo is that he never gives up on himself and he is so obsessed with success, I mean scoring goals, winning trophies and also winning all the awards possible.

Ronaldo had his first hat-trick for Manchester United in a rout against Newscastle Untited which ended 6-0 in favour of Manchester United on 12 January 2008. After a month, Ronaldo captained the team first time in a win at home against Bolton Wanderers which ended 2-0 and both goals scored by Ronaldo. His second goal against Bolton made him beat George Weah’s 32 goals record for United and increased his own tally to 33, setting a new record of highest goals scored by a midfielder in a single-season for the club. His total of 31 goals made him win the Premier League Golden Boot and the European Golden Shoe and this made him the first winger to ever win the latter.

At a knock-out stage match against Lyon in the Champions League, Ronaldo scored the decisive goal which saw United progress to the quarter finals on a 2-1 aggregate. Ronaldo also scored a header against Roma in the quarter finals when he was played as a striker which saw United progress on 3-0 aggregate. This was enough to see United to the finals against English rival Chelsea in Moscow. 

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In the match, Ronaldo’s opening goal was not enough to earn them the cup as there came a reply from Chelsea and he also got his penalty saved during the end-of-time penalty shootout. However, United came out victorious and since Ronaldo was the highest goal scorer in that season’s Champions League, he was awarded the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year and also won the PFA Player’s Player of the Year award and the FWA Footballer of the Year award making it consecutive...The Great Men's Cross: Cristiano Ronaldo 3

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