Seven reasons to celebrate Cristiano Ronaldo’s 30th birthday

Cristiano Ronaldo turned 30 on Thursday - here are seven reasons to celebrate his milestone

1. Man United debut

Despite his £12.24m price tag, not many had heard of 18-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo before his transfer from Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United in 2003. But he burst onto the scene in the Premier League soon after his arrival. He made his debut for the club in the 60th minute of United’s 4-0 win over Bolton Wanderers. It was a debut performance that Sir Alex Ferguson described as “marvelous”. It was also the start of an incredible journey for the future Ballon D’Or winner.

2. First Man United goal

Ronaldo went on to score 117 goals for United during his six-year spell at the club. He played a crucial role in leading his side to three Premier League titles and a Champions League title. His first goal for the club came at Old Trafford in a 3-0 in against Portsmouth in November 2003.

3. Euro 2004

Ronaldo may never win a title with his beloved Portugal, but he will always be remembered for his dedication to the national team. Since making his international debut in 2003, he has slowly become their best player and one of the greatest in his country’s history. His performances during Euro 2004 as a 19-year-old were phenomenal after initial doubts whether he should feature in the first-team under Luiz Felipe Scolari. And although Portugal fell short of victory, his consistent performances in the tournament helped carry an underrated team to the final. If there was one more title Ronaldo deserves, it would have been that European championship.

4. First La Liga goal

Ronaldo will go down as one of Real Madrid’s greatest ever players when he steps down. His incredible goal record speaks for itself and despite reaching the age of 30, he only seems to be getting better year-by-year. His first league goal for Real Madrid came from the penalty spot at the Santiago Bernabeu in a 3-2 win against Deportivo de La Coruña.

5. La Decima

Ronaldo was arguably their most important player in Real Madrid’s route to their 10th European Cup. His 17 Champions League goals broke yet another record in European football. Two goals were particularly crucial decisive in Real’s demolition of Bayern Munich in the semi-finals. And although he did not have the best of finals against Atletico Madrid, his performance throughout the competition helped his club win a title they had long been craving for.

6. Three Ballon d’Or wins

The forward celebrated his third Ballon d’Or win in January after another incredible season at Real Madrid after he led Los Blancos to Champions League and Copa Del Rely success. His first Ballon d’Or came after an incredible year in 2008 where he led United to another Premier League title as well as his first Champions league win. Ronaldo has been the star player for Real since joining in a world-record £80m deal from United in 2009. Who’d count against him winning a fourth Ballon d’Or next year?

7. 275 goals for Real Madrid

Ronaldo has scored an astonishing 275 goals for his current club in just five-and-a-half seasons. He scores in nearly every game and when he doesn’t, his impact on the match is phenomenal. His technique, ball control and ability to nutmeg past opponents is what makes him such a special player and able to score such incredible goals.

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