Ronaldo Nazario Turns 47: When Brazil Legend Scored a UCL Hat Trick at Old Trafford, Video

Ronaldo Nazario Turns 47: When Brazil Legend Scored a UCL Hat Trick at Old Trafford, Video

Edwin Kiplagat
September 22, 2023 at 10:55 AM
  • Brazilian legend and iconic goal-scorer Ronaldo Nazario turns 47 today
  • The ex-Real Madrid and Samba Boys icon is one of the best players ever
  • Fans on social media are reminiscing about his awesome moment in 2003

The late 1990s and early 2000s belonged to none other than Ronaldo Nazario, who was scoring goals for fun for club and country during that period.

One of the Brazilan icon's most memorable performances was during a UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg at Old Trafford.

He bagged a hat-trick to help Real Madrid reach the semi-finals over Manchester United, with fans remembering this performance as he turns 47.

Ronaldo Nazario, Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Luka Modric, Real Madrid, Florentino Perez, La Liga, Champions League, David Beckham, Gareth Bale, Manchester United, Champions League
Ronaldo Nazario could be the greatest striker of all time. Photo by Phil Noble - PA Images.
Source: Getty Images

You don't see too many hat-tricks from opposing players at Old Trafford but on April 23 2003, Ronaldo deservedly took the ball game home. His Real Madrid side were up 3-1 from the first leg against Man United and were favourites to progress to the last four.

However, the Brazilian star had other plans. He netted his iconic hat-trick in a 4-3 defeat, which saw Madrid win the tie 6-5 on aggregate in a Champions League classic.

Ronaldo scored the opening goal in the 12th minute before Ruud Van Nistelrooy equalised for the Red Devils in the 43rd minute. After the interval, the former Inter Milan striker gave Los Blancos a 2-1 lead after 50 minutes. Ivan Helguera scored an own goal to put the score at 2-2.

Seven minutes later, the 2002 World Cup winner completed his hat-trick. David Beckham then scored a brace for Sir Alex Ferguson's side to seal a 4-3 win, but it was not enough.

After Ronaldo was subbed out in the 67th minute, he received a standing ovation from the Old Trafford crowd, who appreciated the work of a genius.

Ronaldo's legacy in football

That season (2002/03), AC Milan won the competition while Real Madrid lost to Juventus in the semis 4-3 on aggregate. It is a shame Ronaldo never won a Champions League title, but his legacy as one of football's greats is solid.

The legendary Brazilian scored 30 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions that season. His career was hampered by injuries, but he was undoubtedly the most dangerous striker in football at that time.

Injuries took away his explosiveness but even before that, he had scored plenty of goals for PSV Eindhoven, Inter Milan and Barcelona. In the second half of his career, he scored eight goals in the 2002 FIFA World Cup to win his second global title.

We would need more words to forensically analyse his impressive career. Even though Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi raised the bar to outrageous heights, Ronaldo remains an icon in football.

Michael Jordan compliments Ronaldo

Sports Brief earlier reported on Ronaldo recalling when Michael Jordan complimented him.

In a recent interview, the Brazilian icon revealed the NBA legend paid him a grand compliment.

Getting a compliment from Jordan is certainly a testament to Ronaldo's influence on sports.

Edwin Kiplagat photo
Edwin Kiplagat
Edwin Kiplagat has five years of experience in journalism working as a Sports Editor at Africa Insight Communications and ESPN. Edwin Kiplagat is a Bachelor's Degree holder in journalism from the Multimedia University of Kenya.
Ronaldo de LimaUEFA Champions League