Cristiano Ronaldo

Former Manchester United forward, Cristiano Ronaldo says playing England will be very emotional for him, after playing in England for years before joining Spanish giant, Real Madrid.

Ronaldo admits playing against Wayne Rooney at Euro 2016 after playing five years together at Old Trafford between 2004 and 2009 will bring back memories.

The pair played together winning a glut of trophies including the Premier League and Champions League. They have also met twice before on the international stage at major tournaments in two fiery encounters between England and Portugal. They played at the continental championship in 2004 before meeting again in 2006 at the World Cup in Germany.

In 2004, Portugal defeated England at the quarter-final stage in a match which saw Rooney suffer a broken foot.  At the World Cup two years later, Rooney was shown a straight red card for a stamp on Ricardo Carvalho. Ronaldo pressured the referee to give the Three Lions forward a tough punishment as the referee was yet to decide and Rooney pushed Ronaldo off in anger. Ronaldo was famously caught on camera winking to the touchline as Rooney made his way off the pitch. England later lost out on penalties.  

There are possibilities that the pair would meet in the knock-out stages in France. Ronaldo told the Sunday Mirror:

“A match against England would be very emotive for me – because of Wayne Rooney and because of many other things too. Roo [Rooney] is now a leader and that’s not a surprise.  I was always convinced that he would be a star for England and, inevitably, captain one day.

“It’s a perfect role for him after the era of Beckham and Terry. For me, the character and pride of Rooney is unique – he’s still very important for England.”

England defeated Portugal 1-0 in their final warm up games ahead of the tournament in France.  Ronaldo missed the game but would be in action at the Euro 2016, as Portugal take on Group F rivals Iceland on June 14.