On this day: Manchester United completed £12.2 million signing of Portuguese legend

11 years ago today Manchester United completed a deal to sign Cristiano Ronaldo - it was arguably the best bit of business Sir Alex Ferguson ever did.

11 years ago to the day, Manchester United pulled off arguably the best signing of the Sir Alex Ferguson era at the club.

On 12th August 2003, Cristiano Ronaldo signed a contract and concluded a £12.2 million move from Sporting Lisbon.

At the time few people could have predicted just how big an impact this prodigiously talented youngster would have at Old Trafford, but he ended up taking the Premier League by storm.

When Ronaldo joined the club he was a player with a lot of promise, but still looked light-weight and like someone who would struggle with the physical battle of playing in England top flight.

However, Ferguson had clearly seen something in him and tipped him for greatness from the movement that he arrived in Manchester.

"He is an extremely talented footballer, a two-footed attacker who can play anywhere up front: right, left or through the middle,” he said. "He is one of the most exciting young players I've ever seen."

Now, Ronaldo is one of the most thrilling footballers any of us have witnessed. Although the debate will rage on about who is more talented out of him and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, there are few greater sights in the modern game than watching the Portuguese attacker in full-flight.

There is a graceful power to his movement and his ability to simply out-skill and over-power defenders is mesmerising.

During his time at Old Trafford Ronaldo would go on to make 196 appearances for the club, scoring 84 times, before completing a record breaking deal to sign for Real Madrid.

Since, he has simply further established his reputation as one of the greatest players to ever play the sport.

Now, 29-years-old, he is the Spanish giant’s talisman and has a goalscoring record that is nothing short of remarkable – having netted 177 times in just 165 appearances.

Ronaldo still hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a return to United later on in his career, though, and United fans will be desperately hoping that a reunion could be possible in the near future.

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