A star is BORN

Cristiano Ronaldo became Manchester United’s newest young hero when he signed from

Sporting Lisbon in August 2003 and was immediately given David Beckham’s number 7 shirt.

On August 12 2003, Ronaldo held up the famous Red shirt, with his favourite number 7 (it is hero Figo’s number) for all the press to see. A new star had been born.

The Portuguese teenager was expected to take his time to settle in England, but made an immediate impact with a stunning debut against Bolton at Old Trafford. While he did not always replicate that level of performance in his first season, Ronaldo’s tricks were always entertaing at the very least.

The next day the media proclaimed him one of the best players ever for United, comparing him with Red-Legend George Best.

While United’s title challenge was fading fast, Ronaldo’s importance to the team was becoming more and more evident with each game. The season ended on a high for him with a goal in the FA Cup final and a call-up to Portugal’s Euro 2004 squad.

He started the tournament on the bench, but his performances and goals persuaded Luiz Felipe Scolari to make him a crucial part of the team that went all the way to the final, though Ronaldo was left in tears after Greece spoiled the hosts’ party.

Those tears were soon turned into smiles though as he became a firm favourite with the Old Trafford faithful in his second season at the club. Indeed, along with fellow youngster Wayne Rooney, Ronaldo’s superb season was one of the few highlights in an otherwise poor campaign at Old Trafford.

Despite a small dip mid-season, his crowd-pleasing tricks saw him make 50 appearances all in all, scoring 9, often lavish, goals including two in a Barclays Premiership game against Arsenal.

He continued this fine form for Portugal, scoring 7 as they made a strong start in their World Cup 2006 qualifying group.

Squad Number: 7

Position: Forward

Place of Birth: Funchal, Madeira

Date Of Birth: February 5, 1985

Height: 6’2

Weight: 11st 11lbs

This Season

Appearances: 17(8)

Goals: 3

Yellow Cards: 6

Red Cards: 0

Minutes on Pitch: 1,632