Ronaldo's longevity is summed up by this stat

Friday 18 February 2022 07:00

If selected against Leeds this weekend, Manchester United legend Cristiano Ronaldo will set a Premier League record for a player’s longest gap between games against a specific opponent.

To explain in more detail, the Portuguese phenomenon last appeared against our Yorkshire rivals all the way back on 18 October 2003, during a 1-0 win at Elland Road thanks to a Roy Keane goal.

When this Sunday’s fixture comes around, that will have been 18 years and 125 days ago!

Of course, it feels like Ronaldo breaks a record of some sort every time he plays, but this latest statistical nugget from Opta is genuinely remarkable and highlights his incredible longevity. 
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with Roy Keane at Elland Road in 2003.

This is the side that Sir Alex Ferguson selected against Leeds back in 2003: 

United: Howard, G Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Fortune (O'Shea 40), Fletcher (Forlan 60), Keane, P Neville, Ronaldo (Butt 90), Scholes, Van Nistelrooy.

Subs Not Used: Carroll, Djemba-Djemba.

You may have already noticed that Ronaldo is the only member of the squad who is still playing professionally today, although Darren Fletcher is still at the club in his role as Technical Director. 
The likes of Eric Djemba-Djemba, Rio Ferdinand, Tim Howard, Roy Keane, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes are all active television pundits around the world. 

Quinton Fortune, Diego Forlan, Phil Neville, John O’Shea, Nicky Butt and Ruud van Nistelrooy have gone into coaching or management. 

Meanwhile, Mikael Silvestre is CEO of an agency for young athletes and also has his own rum company, as you do!


This is the Leeds team that Cristiano faced at Elland Road in 2003:

Leeds: Robinson, Kelly, Camara, Matteo, Olembe, Pennant (Lennon 85), Batty, Johnson, Milner (Sakho 63), Viduka (Bridges 68), Smith.

Subs Not Used: Carson, Roque Junior.

Impressively, two members of that squad are still playing in the Premier League, with Aaron Lennon at Burnley and James Milner with Liverpool. The latter made his 800th career appearance this week.

Alan Smith went on to join Ronaldo at United, of course.