Saturday 16 May, 2009 – the last time Manchester United fans laid eyes on Cristiano Ronaldo in a red shirt.
Close to 148 months have passed since that 0-0 draw with Arsenal, which sealed an 11th Premier League crown for the Red Devils, and it’s fair to say a lot has changed in that time.
United are no longer the dominant force they were back then – indeed, they’ve only won two further league titles since that 2008/09 triumph – and Ronaldo most certainly isn’t the right midfielder he was for most of that spell at Old Trafford – his incredible goal tally of 551 after converting to a left forward and striker attests to that.
That, however, is old news.
Ronaldo is once again a Manchester United player, with excitement reaching fever pitch in recent days following his dramatic return to the club from Juventus. There are plenty of questions to be asked about the move and long elaborate answers to be heard, but all we can do for the moment is speculate over how he’ll settle wearing the number seven of United once more.
So what better way to ponder how Ronaldo will get on then by checking out his record against the first five opponents he could line up against?
Won: 10 (90.9%)
There aren’t many teams who haven’t felt the wrath of Ronaldo at one point or another, and Newcastle – his potential first opponents, should there be no issues with his quarantine – are no strangers to CR7-induced misery.
Not only have United won 10 out of the 11 games Ronaldo has played against Newcastle, he’s made 11 goal contributions – scoring six times and assisting five. Interestingly however, Ronaldo did draw a blank in his first seven Premier League games against the Magpies.
The 2007/08 season was when he turned it around, scoring a hat-trick in a 6-0 win at Old Trafford before scoring two more in the reverse fixture – a 5-1 triumph at St James’ Park. Yep, 11-1 on aggregate in one season. Ouch.
Won: 4 (57.1%)
Ronaldo’s win record dips a little against West Ham, who are currently enjoying a resurgence under former United manager David Moyes.
The Red Devils travel to the London Stadium on 19 September three days before they clash again in the Carabao Cup, with Ronaldo having netted once in his previous four trips to east London. That came during a 2-1 defeat just after Christmas in 2007, although Ronaldo has bagged braces against the Hammers in two other games at Old Trafford.
Seven played, five scored and four wins isn’t bad going at all.
Won: 0 (0%)
Ronaldo’s first taste of Champions League football during his second spell with United could come against Young Boys, who he has only ever faced once in his career.
Playing for Juventus, Ronaldo fronted up against the Swiss in their final group game of the 2018/19 edition, but surprisingly came out on the wrong side of a 2-1 defeat after a brace from Guillaume Hoarau.
Ronaldo’s contribution came in the form of an assist for Paulo Dybala, but it was too little, too late for I Bianconeri.
Won: 13 (92.8%)
Ronaldo could return to Premier League action against Aston Villa next, another team he has a superb record against.
Of the 14 games Ronaldo has played against the Villans, he has emerged on the winning side 13 times – scoring nine goals and laying a further four on a plate for his teammates.
Included in that haul are a brace in his last season with United – during that 3-2 win when Federico Macheda burst onto the scene – and a stellar showing in the 2007/08 campaign, when Ronaldo scored one and assisted three in a 4-0 win.
Won: 8 (42%)
Ronaldo’s second dip into this season’s Champions League pits him against a Villarreal side who have an astonishingly good record against him.
The Yellow Submarine have avoided defeat in 11 of the 19 games Ronaldo has played against them, although keeping him quiet on a personal level has proved challenging.
Four of Ronaldo’s games against Villarreal came during his first stint for United, which incredibly all finished 0-0, but the goalscoring floodgates then opened once he joined Real Madrid.
He bagged seven in his first four games in Spain, and six more followed – including in Ronaldo’s last game against Villarreal, a 2-2 draw on the final day of the 2017/18 season.