Footage resurfaces of Rooney brutally ‘welcoming’ Ronaldo to Premier League


Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney spent five seasons playing alongside each other at Manchester United.

The pair helped the Red Devils win a number of trophies under Sir Alex Ferguson, including three Premier League titles and a Champions League.

However, their first meeting in English football was rather different, with the two lining up as opponents at Old Trafford back on Boxing Day in 2003.

Ronaldo was in his first year as a United player, having been signed from Sporting Lisbon for £12m that summer after impressing in a pre-season friendly.

Rooney, meanwhile, was into his second full season at Everton and the two faced off in a game which United won 3-2.

Wayne Rooney was booked for a tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo in the pair’s first meeting in the Premier League

Just before the hour mark, and with the Toffees losing 2-1, Ronaldo got the ball on the left wing and Rooney clattered into his future team-mate with a brutal challenge.

Unsurprisingly, Rooney was shown a yellow card by referee Mike Dean and, just eight months later, the striker joined Ronaldo at Old Trafford after completing a £25.6m move.

They developed a close friendship at United and Rooney has since revealed their infamous clash at the 2006 World Cup helped them form “a bond … that pushed us — and Manchester United — to the greatest highs”.

Writing in his Sunday Times column, Rooney recalled: “I had my phone in my hand and I was getting all these messages about Ronaldo. Of course, when he ran over to ask Elizondo to send me off I pushed him away.

“In that moment I couldn’t believe what he was doing. But sitting in that dressing room gave me time to calm down and think. I put myself in Ronaldo’s shoes. Would I do the same? Probably.

“Would I be in the ref’s face to make sure he got sent off? If he deserved the red, if it would help us win — yes, no question. I’d do it tomorrow.

“I thought: ‘Actually, I tried to get him booked in the first half for diving.’ And the wink thing, I didn’t see anything in that at all. It was nothing.

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“So I calmed down. I went over to him afterwards in the tunnel. I felt it was important to speak to him while it was still fresh and to do it face to face.

“He gave me a look as if to say sorry but by then I had my United head on. I said I’ve no issues with you. Enjoy your tournament and good luck. I’ll see you in a few weeks — and let’s go try and win the league.”

“What came out of it was a bond between me and Cristiano Ronaldo that pushed us — and Manchester United — to the greatest highs.”


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