Even though Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo played just half a dozen years in the English Premier League, he was recently voted as the competition’s best-ever player. Ronaldo, who just turned 30, is now scoring goals by the bucketful for Spanish La Liga giants Real Madrid. The voting was conducted by Press Association Sport and the fans’ choice was clearly Ronaldo as he finished ahead of former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry and former Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs.
Ronaldo played for Manchester United after former manager Alex Ferguson signed him at Old Trafford in 2003 when he was just 18 years old. He left for Spain in 2009, but still managed to win an FA Cup, three Premier League crowns, and the European Champions League for United before saying goodbye. Ronaldo has improved as a player in Madrid and is currently the FIFA player of the year for the second season in a row.
He was sold to Madrid for a world-record transfer fee at the time of 80 million pounds. While he was in England, Ronaldo played 292 times for United and scored 118 goals. He was named first in the poll by 1,000 fans who were invited to participate in the voting. Other candidates in the survey included, Henry, Giggs, Eric Cantona, Gianfranco Zola, Dennis Bergkamp, Steven Gerrard, Alan Shearer, Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira. Some fans voted for written-in candidates while Ronaldo garnered 177 of the remaining 747 votes, for a 24 per cent showing.
Henry placed second with 18 per cent and Giggs was next at 13 per cent. Cantona earned 12 per cent of the votes as did Shearer. Keane earned two per cent and Vieira was named on per cent of the ballots. The voting was held across Britain and it involved both male and female football supporters.