SASoccermag.co.za looks back at the legends of the Premier League, and today features Cristiano Ronaldo and his exploits in the 2007-2008 season.
The 2007-08 season saw Manchester United successfully defend their title to claim their 10th crown of the Premier League era. Having made a slow start to the season, the Red Devils began to gather momentum, but Arsenal and Chelsea remained ever-present threats at the top as they pushed United all the way to the final day of the campaign.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad prevailed and finished two points clear of Chelsea with 87 points, while Arsenal finished ahead of fourth-placed Liverpool.
At the opposite end of the table Fulham escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth as they won on the final day, which meant Reading suffered the drop by virtue of their poorer goal difference. There was despair for Birmingham City, too, as the 19th-placed side finished just a point further back. Rooted to the bottom of the table lay dismal Derby, finishing the season with just 11 points. The Rams still hold the record for the worst points return in Premier League history.
The shining star of Manchester United’s campaign was a rapidly-maturing Cristiano Ronaldo. After serving a three-match suspension early on in the campaign, the then 22-year-old Portuguese international returned on a new level.
Playing predominantly on the right wing, Ronaldo proved unstoppable. His pace, power and skill supplemented what soon became an outrageous goal return. Whether smashing in free kicks, dispatching penalties, sweeping home team moves, or dominating with his aerial prowess, defenders simply had no answer.
Ronaldo famously went on to record 42 goals in all competitions in 2007-08, 31 of which came from his 34 league appearances. The star’s efforts helped United not only to the league title, but the Champions League that season, as Ronaldo went on to be crowned the Fifa World Player of the Year.
Ronaldo had one season left to give at United before he transferred to Real Madrid for a then record £80-million transfer fee.
Today, he remains an instrumental part of the Real side as he continues to fire in goals at a preposterous rate.