On Wednesday, Cristiano Ronaldo faces his former team for the first time since a record $131 million transfer fee moved the Portuguese attacker from Manchester United to Read Madrid in the summer of 2009.
Ronaldo has already promised not to celebrate any goals he scores during the Champions League round of 16 as a sign of respect to his former club and manager Alex Ferguson. Ronaldo spent six years with Manchester United and won nearly every individual and team trophy imaginable.
As a Red Devil, he won the Barclay's Player of the Year, Premier League Golden Boot, Champions League Top Scorer, European Golden Shoe, FIFA Ballon d'Or, and UEFA Champions League Footballer of the Year.
With United, Ronaldo won the Premier League, FA Cup, Football League Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Champions League.
Then, the Portuguese superstar took his talents to Real Madrid.
Since arriving in Madrid, Ronaldo's senses for goal have only heightened, as the 28-year-old has scored 182 times in 179 official appearances for the Whites. Against Sevilla on Saturday, Ronaldo scored his fifth hat trick of the season and 20th hat trick of his Real Madrid career. Ronaldo's scintillating goal-scoring form should scare United, as Madrid's No. 7 has tallied three hat tricks in his last eight appearances.
To put that incredible feat in perspective, he only scored one hat trick while at Manchester United (Jan. 12, 2008 against Newcastle United).
Along with Ronaldo facing a friendly foe, Madrid manager Jose Mourinho also has history with Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United. Mourinho's Inter Milan was knocked out of the Champions League by United in 2008-09, a year before Inter won the competition.
As manager of Chelsea from 2004 to 2007, the self-proclaimed "Special One" won two league titles over Ronaldo, Ferguson and the Red Devils. After Mourinho's controversial mid-season exit from Stamford Bridge in September 2007, the Blues, under interim manager Avram Grant, finished second in the league behind United and lost in the Champions League final to the Red Devils – a European final that featured Ronaldo crying.
In a completely different manner than Ronaldo, Mourinho also made his name at Old Trafford.
Mourinho's 2003-04 Porto side shocked Manchester United in the round of 16 of the Champions League with a 90th-minute goal at Old Trafford. The eccentric Portuguese manager took off sprinting down the touch line and jumped in the air in celebration – a moment that announced Mourinho's arrival in European football.
Porto went on to win the Champions League, and the Special One went on to become only the third manager to win the Champions League with two different teams.
Mourinho would also go on to become the first manager to win the top domestic leagues in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain. Mourinho also won every domestic cup competition and the Super Cups in Portugal, England, Italy, and Spain.
With every trophy, Mourinho's exuberant celebrations have become more and more common. So, even if Ronaldo does not celebrate against Manchester United, Mourinho certainly will.
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