Cristiano Ronaldo set to make 1,000th senior appearance of his illustrious career when Juventus travel to SPAL… 18 years after superstar made debut as a fresh-faced teenager in Champions League for Sporting Lisbon
- Cristiano Ronaldo may make his 1,000th senior career appearance against SPAL
- The superstar could reach the milestone in Juventus’ clash against the strugglers
- Ronaldo has played 835 games for clubs and featured 164 times internationally
- The five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s trophy-laden career began at Sporting Lisbon
- The Portugal captain first emerged into the limelight as a teenager back in 2002
Cristiano Ronaldo could reach yet another impressive milestone in his already star-studded career when Juventus travel to SPAL on Saturday.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner may make his 1,000th professional appearance against the Serie A strugglers.
Ronaldo has played 835 games in club football and featured 164 times on the international stage, and is set to achieve the impressive figure as Juventus continue their bid for domestic glory.
Cristiano Ronaldo could make his 1,000th professional career appearance at SPAL on Saturday
The Portuguese superstar first emerged into the limelight as a fresh-faced teenager in 2002
The Portuguese superstar first emerged into the limelight as a fresh-faced teenager, donned in a Sporting Lisbon jersey, in 2002.
The then 17-year-old had been promoted from Sporting’s youth team by first-team manager Laszlo Boloni, who was starstruck by Ronaldo’s unparalleled dribbling abilities.
Ronaldo’s debut came when the youngster was introduced off the bench in the Champions League third qualifying round first-leg tie against Inter Milan, but was unable to make an impact with the clash finishing goalless.
The 17-year-old was promoted from Sporting’s youth team by first-team manager Laszlo Boloni
That evening marked the first time a global icon took to the field as a professional – with Ronaldo replacing Tonito with an hour played before embarking on a couple of mazy dribbles down the right flank.
Sporting lost the second leg 2-0, however, and crashed out of the competition.
Ronaldo had failed to feature at the San Siro, but made a significant impression for his homeland club during the campaign.
His first goals on the biggest stage were truly remarkable, with Ronaldo rounding off his appearance against Moreirense with a superb brace.
And the electric winger would infamously soon catch the eye of several of Europe’s greatest sides.
Portuguese newspaper A Bola marked the occasion with a front-page collage of Ronaldo’s most memorable moments for both club and country, with Tuttosport also prominently featuring the achievement.
Portuguese newspaper A Bola celebrated the potential milestone with a front-page collage
Tuttosport also highlighted the superb record, with Ronaldo netting 724 career goals
The 35-year-old superstar has netted 724 goals during his rich career, which began with humble beginnings at Sporting.
After 31 appearances for the club, between 2002 and 2003, Ronaldo moved to Manchester United.
The dazzling wideman infamously impressed the Old Trafford hierarchy, including Sir Alex Ferguson, and United players urged the club to snap up Ronaldo – which they soon did for a reported £12.24million fee.
Ronaldo featured 292 times for the Premier League giants, and left for Real Madrid after six years. The mercurial forward even scored 450 of his total career goals for the La Liga title challengers.
The Portugal captain moved to Manchester United in 2003 after impressing against the club
Ronaldo netted 450 of his total career goals for Real Madrid following six years at Old Trafford
And after securing himself as an all-time club great, Ronaldo departed on good terms to take up another challenge with Juventus in 2018.
With 52 goals in 72 appearances in Turin since the switch, Ronaldo is closing in on another impressive record – and could rack up his 1,000th appearance against the Serie A basement club.
The Portuguese captain has netted 20 goals in league action this season, with a further two strikes coming in the Champions League.
Team-mate Gianluigi Buffon is also on the verge of history, with the veteran goalkeeper just one more game away from becoming the highest Serie A appearance maker.
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