Manchester United vs Juventus: When Cristiano Ronaldo first returned to Old Trafford

Cristiano Ronaldo will be back at Old Trafford on Tuesday night, hoping to fire his Juventus team-mates to a Champions League victory, just as he did on his first return to Manchester United with Real Madrid five years ago.

The 33-year-old became a star at United during a six-year stay from 2003, winning three Premier League titles and the Champions League in 2008, before joining Real in an £80m move.

So it was an emotional night for the forward when he came back for a Champions League last-16 tie in 2013. But, despite making his respects for his former club clear, Ronaldo delivered the match-winning blow for the visitors after a controversial red card for his compatriot Nani.

Here, ahead of Juventus' group-stage clash with United, we look back at Ronaldo's previous return to Old Trafford…

Manchester United 1-2 Real Madrid (Real win 3-2 on aggregate)

Evenly balanced after the first leg and Ronaldo's first intervention

Real Madrid and Manchester United were drawn together in the last-16 of the Champions League in 2013 and the stage was set for a mouth-watering clash between the Spanish champions and a United team on their way to reclaiming the Premier League crown.

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho described the tie as "the match the world wanted to see - the only shame is that it is not the final".

The first leg at the Bernabeu lived up to the billing, with Ronaldo scoring a towering header to cancel out Danny Welbeck's opener. "I don't think there's another player in the world who can do that," Sir Alex Ferguson said of Ronaldo's goal.

I don't think there's another player in the world who can do that.

Sir Alex Ferguson on Cristiano Ronaldo's first leg goal

There was a certain inevitability about Ronaldo scoring against his old side but David De Gea was in fine form to ensure the visitors left Spain with a 1-1 draw and a real chance at making the quarter-finals.

Advantage United after Ronaldo's big reception - until Nani's red

Manchester United fans welcomed Ronaldo back warmly

The focus was fully on Ronaldo at Old Trafford three weeks later. The forward received a huge ovation from the home supporters when his name was read out and touched his chest in appreciation but his team were soon on the back foot and fell behind when Sergio Ramos diverted the ball into his own net.

Cristiano Ronaldo shows his appreciation to the United fans

Cristiano Ronaldo shows his appreciation to the United fans

The match and the tie turned, though, when Nani was shown a controversial red card for a high challenge on Alvaro Arbeloa by referee Cuneyt Cakir on 56 minutes. "The decision seemed very harsh, possibly incredible at that moment in the game," said United assistant manager Mike Phelan afterwards, with Ferguson too incensed to speak to the media.

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho consoles a shocked Nani after his red card

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho consoles a shocked Nani after his red card

Modric magic and then Ronaldo's decisive blow

With a man advantage Real put on the pressure, with substitute Luka Modric whipping in a superb equaliser from the edge of the box.

Just three minutes later, Ronaldo came up with the winner, sliding in to convert Gonzalo Higuain's cross-shot at the back post.

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As Ronaldo's slide took him behind the net and in front of the United supporters his response was muted, his hands raised above his head apologetically while his team-mates and the travelling fans celebrated wildly.

A couple more chances fell his way, with De Gea doing well to keep him from scoring another, but Ronaldo had made his mark. As he left the pitch at full-time, despite their disappointment and anger with the referee, the United supporters again showed their respect.

The aftermath

Ronaldo and Nemanja Vidic after the second leg

"It was unbelievable," Ronaldo reflected after the match when asked about the reception he'd received from the United supporters. "It was an emotional moment for me, for both games, but especially tonight.

It was unbelievable. I do not have words to explain how I feel.

Cristiano Ronaldo on his return to Old Trafford

"I do not have words to explain how I feel. The supporters made me feel shy. I did not play how I play all the time."

Ultimately, Real's own run in the competition came to an end at the semi-final stage, when they were beaten by Borussia Dortmund. But while Ronaldo would go on to win four Champions League titles with Real Madrid, that night at Old Trafford during the course of an unsuccessful campaign, will no doubt stand out as a fond memory.

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Dominic Solomon Posted on October 23, 2018 16:47

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