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Remembering the partnership between Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney played together five years at Manchester United, forming one of the greatest partnerships ever seen in English football.

On this day 11 years ago Manchester United beat Chelsea in the 2008 Champions League Final at the Luzhiniki Stadium, winning their third European crown. The leaders of that golden generation of the Red Devils? Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Rooney and Ronaldo became teammates in August 2004, when ‘Wazza’ joined Manchester United from Everton in a £25 million transfer deal. Cristiano Ronaldo had already spent one season at Old Trafford and won the FA Cup, his first trophy with the Red Devils.

Both of them still teenagers at the time, were regarded as the most talented players in football. They enjoyed a fantastic UEFA Euro 2004 tournament previously in the summer.

Wayne Rooney finished the competition as the second-best goalscorer with four goals only behind Milan Baros, while Ronaldo reached the final on home soil, only to lose 1-0 to Greece in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the European Championships.

Sir Alex Ferguson definitely knew what he was doing when he acquired these two talented lads, who grew up from promising teens to goal-hungry predators together.

Rooney scored a Champions League hat-trick on his Manchester United debut against Fenerbahce in 2004, announcing himself on the big stage.

He was the best one of the duo at the early stage of their partnership, netting 17 goals in his first season at Old Trafford. They failed to win a trophy in the 2004-05 campaign, while won the League Cup only in the following season.

However, Manchester United fans knew their future is bright with youngsters like Rooney and Ronaldo in the squad. Both of them temperamental and hungry for success, they went head-to-head in the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals as England faced Portugal.

The English forward stamped on Ricardo Carvalho in the second half, while Ronaldo rushed to the referee and appealed for the sending-off of his club team-mate and was successful in his claims. To add fuel to the fire, the Portuguese winger cheekily winked at his bench and later scored the decisive goal in the penalty shootout, as Portugal beat England 3-1 on penalties.

There was a lot of speculation about their relationship during the summer, but Sir Alex Ferguson sorted it out immediately before the start of the 2006-07 campaign. And that was the moment when both players raised their game on another level. Rooney and Ronaldo netted 23 goals each in the campaign, guiding Manchester United to Premier League glory at the end of the season. They also reached the Champions League semi-final and the FA Cup Final.

Carlos Tevez joined them during the summer of 2008, forming an exciting attacking trio, that went on to win a Premier League and Champions League double for the Red Devils.

The 2007-08 was Cristiano Ronaldo’s best season at an individual level at Old Trafford, as he scored 43 goals in 49 games across all competitions, winning the European Golden Boot. He was also voted as the Premier League Player of the Season for a second successive year and won his first Ballon d’Or at the end of 2008.

In the final season of their partnership, Ronaldo and Rooney combined for 46 goals in all competitions. They won the Premier League for third consecutive time and reached a back-to-back Champions League final, where they lost 2-0 against Barcelona.

Wayne Rooney was regarded as the man who worked harder on the pitch, while Cristiano Ronaldo was the man to deliver.

In an interview via Mirror last year the English forward said: “With Cristiano, you knew he would win us those big games with the big moments.

“With any other player, you probably wouldn’t but with Cristiano, he was that good you had to accommodate him. I would gladly do that for him to score big goals and help us win trophies.”

Did you enjoy watching these two legends playing together and was there any better partner for Cristiano Ronaldo than Wayne Rooney? Please share your opinion in the comment section below.

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