Cristiano Ronaldo, all hail! He may be Man Utd nemesis… but they are still showing THIS

The 33-year-old returns to Old Trafford tonight as a hero after his medal-laden spell at the club.

Such are the memories he created, there’s a picture of Ronaldo in Manchester United club colours adorning the wall of their media room.

You could have forgiven them for taking it down with Juventus in town for the Champions League clash.

But no. Jose Mourinho spoke on Monday and sat just metres away from the Ronaldo tribute.

And, when he did get quizzed on the Portuguese superstar, Mourinho rated him up there with as high as anyone he’s worked with.

“I thought Cristiano is in a level where he doesn’t need these questions and these answers,” Mourinho said.

“He is one of the best players of all time and nobody can tell different than that. He’s one of the best players of all time. It’s as simple as that.”

At the weekend, his fifth goal for Juve against Genoa made him the first player to chalk up 400 goals in Europe’s top five leagues and he made it clear yesterday he is totally focused on what will be an emotional return to his former club.

He has been back once before and ruined Sir Alex Ferguson’s hopes of Champions League success in his final season as United manager, scoring for Real Madrid in both legs of their last-16 tie, including the winner in the second leg in the stadium where he made his name.

Cristiano Ronaldo moments are on display in the media room at Man Utd (Image: GETTY)

Cristiano Ronaldo picture is on the walls at Manchester United (Image: GETTY)

Jose Mourinho will lead Manchester United into battle against Juventus (Image: GETTY)

And he made sure he referenced the debt he owes Ferguson – recovering well from a brain haemorrhage – who took him from Sporting Lisbon in 2003 and launched him on to the world stage.

“Sir Alex – I will never forget him,” he said. “He was a huge lift in my career and I express best wishes to him. When I knew we were to play Manchester United, it was huge for me. It is a huge thing to come back. I have happy memories of what it was like in Manchester.

“I remember my history here – I won lots of trophies, the Premier League, the Champions League and I remember the support of the fans.”

But Ronaldo is a serial winner rather than a sentimentalist and he warned United he wants Juve to repeat what Real did to them five years ago. “Manchester are a good team, they are playing at home, so it will be tough for us,” he said.

“We have our weapons – we are Juve. We know it will be tough but we have a good chance to win if we play in a good way, the way the coach wants.

“We have to respect Manchester United – they are a fantastic team, with an experienced coach – but I expect and look forward that Juve will win the game.

“If I score I won’t celebrate – it will be the same as last time I came with Real.”

Cristiano Ronaldo was hailed by Jose Mourinho as one of the best in the world (Image: GETTY)

The media crammed in to see Jose Mourinho speak at Old Trafford (Image: GETTY)

Cristiano Ronaldo returns to Old Trafford on Tuesday night for Man Utd v Juventus (Image: GETTY)


Cristiano Ronaldo returns to the club where he first made his name as his former employers Manchester United welcome Juventus to Old Trafford in the Champions League.

Ronaldo scored 118 times in 292 appearances for United, helping them collect three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups and the 2008 European Cup.

Here, Express Sport looks at some of his greatest moments in a Red Devils shirt:

Making an early impression

Ronaldo became the world’s most expensive teenager when United paid £12.24million to Portuguese club Sporting before the 2003-04 season. Handed the number seven shirt previously made famous by George Best, Eric Cantona and David Beckham, the 18-year-old came off the bench against Bolton for his debut and got to work with an array of tricks, flicks and step-overs that would go on to become his trademark. However, he proved there was some substance behind the style and earned rave reviews for his cameo.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored 118 times in 292 appearances for Manchester United (Image: GETTY)

Glory, Glory, Man United

Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ dominated Ronaldo’s first season in English football but the youngster would not go empty-handed, and he left his imprint at the Millennium Stadium to help United to glory in the FA Cup. Sir Alex Ferguson’s men were overwhelming favourites to defeat Millwall in the final but they were frustrated for most of the first half until Ronaldo stole in at the back post to head home Gary Neville’s cross.

Ruud van Nistelrooy bagged a second-half double to ensure Ronaldo claimed his first trophy in English football.

Putting Newcastle to the sword

Ronaldo truly bloomed in the 2007-08 season and Newcastle discovered just how predatory he could be as the forward netted his only hat-trick in United colours.

He bagged his 20th goal of the season by January as he slotted a free-kick under the Newcastle wall while his 50th league goal for United came shortly afterwards, putting the finishing touches to a free-flowing move.

His treble arrived just before full-time with another fine finish in a game where Newcastle were routed 6-0 at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo scored 118 times in 292 appearances for United (Image: GETTY)

THAT free-kick

Ronaldo’s free-kick routine – the meticulous placing of the ball, the four precise steps back, the couple of gulps of air – is practised by amateurs young and old across the land today and that was in evidence when he scored what may have been his most memorable goal during his six years at United.

Ronaldo had already put United ahead against Portsmouth in January 2008 when he struck a 30-yard set-piece with such venom and accuracy that it left David James rooted to the spot as the ball flew into the top corner.

Shining on the grandest stage

Ronaldo and the Champions League have become synonymous with each other during his time at Real Madrid but his first European crown came under Ferguson and United 10 years ago. In a campaign where he won the Premier League Golden Boot, it was unsurprising that he scored the opener in the final against Chelsea with a superb header in which he seemed to hang in the air. Ronaldo would go on to miss a penalty in the shoot-out but United prevailed.

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