Look back on your life; is there one life-changing event or situation that altered the course of your being forever? Would you do anything differently, or would you keep things the same?
We all have important moments in our lives, but some peoples’ are more significant and literally go down in history.
When it comes to football and Cristiano Ronaldo, August 6 2003 is a particularly important date and one which undoubtedly shaped the trajectory of his career before he became one of the world’s great players and one of the best ever.
On that day, Manchester United were the visitors of Sporting Lisbon in a pre-season friendly and Ronaldo stole the show – giving John O’Shea a bit of a nightmare. Granted, perhaps that’s not immediate proof of world-class ability, but he wasn’t too bad back in those days.
Ronaldo’s performance left a real mark on the United players, and not just O’Shea, who was probably left sobbing in the shower afterwards.
Sir Alex Ferguson had his team demanding he sign this skinny teenager after the match – perhaps this was really a test of O’Shea’s mental strength as he faced the prospect of defending against Ronaldo every day in training. Perhaps not.
But little did they know that Fergie was already working on it and he brought the move one step closer at full-time.
“After the game some of my teammates said: ‘Listen, you’re going to go to Manchester, trust me!’
“Sir Alex Ferguson was there, and [his team-mates said] he wants to speak with you. I go to the dressing room, he introduced me to the [United] players.
“For me, I was a little bit shy. And Sir Alex Ferguson said to me: ‘Listen, I want you now.'”
Ronaldo to Sky Sports.
It would have been nicer if the last segment of that quote didn’t sound like it came straight from a raunchy rom-com, but there we are. And as they say, the rest is history.
Ronaldo has gone on to win… Well, pretty much everything. We’d be here forever if all his accolades and trophies were listed.
Ronaldo undoubtedly owes a lot to United and Ferguson, but it’s difficult not to wonder how his career would have panned out at a different club and under another manager.
He has always had obviously incredible individual talents, but given his regular labelling of Fergie as being a father-like figure in terms of his guidance, one has to assume things may have been a bit different had he ended up elsewhere.