Cristiano Ronaldo produced many spectacular strikes for Manchester United – but his most extraordinary assist for the club arguably isn’t talked about enough.
Ronaldo was standing when the ball was played with him, and he reacted with a single touch: a no-look, backheeled pass, which cut out the protector and moved perfectly to Wayne Rooney’s route. It had been 2008, the year Ronaldo won his very first Ballon d’Or; he delivered a stunning bit of showboating skill. Man United were 3-0 up against Aston Villa – Ronaldo having opened the scoring – if the magic happened. Cristiano Ronaldo made many magnificent strikes for Manchester United – but his best assist for your club isn’t talked about enough.
Most underrated assist in football history?! 🤯 pic.twitter.com/e2P9EA74w7
— Best of Football (@BestofFootball8) May 4, 2021
Rooney slotted it home to seal a 4-0 win having a memorable goal created solely by Ronaldo’s vision and adventuresome ability. Overall, Ronaldo concocted a hat-trick of assists on this day 13 years back, as Villa were ripped apart. Manchester United would win the Premier League and Champions League that season, as Ronaldo netted 42 goals in 49 games.
But lots of Man United supporters – and soccer fans in general – fondly recall the times when Ronaldo was as happy making a superb goal because he was finishing one-off. During his nine-year spell at Real Madrid, the Portuguese attacker increasingly left his flashier abilities behind him because he sharpened his completion and became the leading goalscorer. He’s carried that to Juventus, where he has netted 99 targets in 129 games, despite the club’s struggles. It’s also a reminder for lovers who, in his younger days, Ronaldo was a sublime flair player as well as a lethal all-around finisher.
And his aid for Rooney against Aston Villa is a perfect reminder of everything does not get talked about enough: what an incredible creative force Ronaldo was at his best.