Sunday, May 11, 2008

Cristiano Ronaldo this season

There are few words to describe Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2007/2008 season, the simple fact is that his performances have exceeded anything seen in recent memory.

And all this despite starting the season poorly with a red card, following a clash with Portsmouth’s Richard Hughes in United’s second match. His next match against former club Sporting Lisbon saw the 23-year-old score the only goal of the game however, and that goal set the stage for an incredible campaign.

The goals just kept on coming for Ronaldo as the Portuguese winger found the net consistently both in the league and in European fixtures, including a second goal against former club Sporting, coming in the form of a heart-breaking injury time free kick.

In December Ronaldo was runner-up in the European Footballer of the Year standings, behind AC Milan’s Kaka. He then found himself third behind Kaka and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in the FIFA World Player of the Year awards.

Ronaldo continued to put the ball in the back of the net for United in 2008, scoring his first hat-trick for the Red Devils in a 6-0 drubbing of Newcastle on January 12, taking United to the top of the Premier League table. A week later he had equalled his 2006/07 goal tally with 23. On March 19, another milestone fell as Ronaldo eclipsed George Best’s 40-year-old record for the most goals scored by a United midfielder in a single season, with his 33rd.

The young winger was then handed the captain’s armband for the first time in his United career against Bolton Wanderers, a game where he scored both goals in a 2-0 win.

Finally, despite missing a penalty in the away leg of the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona, the Red Devils marched on to their first Champions League final since 1999. That coupled with their most recent Premier League success has capped a truly remarkable season for Ronaldo.

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