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On this day: Cristiano Ronaldo free kick stuns Portsmouth at Old Trafford

On this day in 2008 Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals, including a stunning free kick, as Manchester United beat Portsmouth 2-0 at Old Trafford.

Over the years Cristiano Ronaldo has managed to produce moments of brilliance which some players can only dream of repeating, and he is showing no signs of stopping in a Real Madrid shirt.

The Portuguese has stamped his authority on matches at club and international level, but to Manchester United supporters, it may be a goal he scored in a 2-0 win over Portsmouth at Old Trafford for which he will be remembered most.

On this day seven years ago, United eased to a comfortable victory, and it was Ronaldo who stole the headlines with a classy finish and a superb free kick to leave fans of both sides stunned.

Ronaldo found a partner in crime in Paul Scholes, who returned from injury to pull the strings in midfield throughout the night, and the former England international played a key role in putting the visitors under pressure early on.

The opener could have arrived earlier, but Sol Campbell intercepted at the vital moment to dispossess Park Ji-sung as the South Korean looked to find a yard of space in the box.

Ronaldo stepped up to break the deadlock in the 10th minute as he exchanged passes with Scholes and Nani before keeping his composure in the box to slot past a helpless David James.

If the Old Trafford crowd were impressed by the opening goal, the reaction to Ronaldo's second strike is unlikely to be forgotten soon as cheers of delight were mixed with gasps of disbelief.

It came as no surprise to see Ronaldo line up the free kick from 30 yards, but a swerving effort which landed in the perfect spot was enough to even shock his own teammates as James turned to his defenders with a defeated look.

After Ronaldo's brace inside the space of two minutes, the result never really looked in doubt, and Scholes continued to trouble Portsmouth with his trademark passing from deeper positions, with Patrice Evra benefiting from his play on the left wing.

The combination of Nani, Scholes and Evra created another big chance for United before the break, but a wild swing of the boot from Wayne Rooney saw Portsmouth reach the break without suffering further damage.

Portsmouth continued to battle admirably in the second half, but the hosts were still in charge and were almost further ahead when Rio Ferdinand tested James with a powerful header.

Rooney was struggling to hit the same heights as Ronaldo on a night when the duo were asked to form a strike partnership, with the England forward scooping an effort over the crossbar after breaking free of the visiting defence.

A routine night at the office allowed United to remove Ronaldo late on, and the home fans made it clear just what they thought of his display, while Sir Alex Ferguson admitted that his free kick was one of the best strikes he had seen during his time at the club.

"David Beckham's strike rate was pretty good, Eric Cantona used to take them too but Ronaldo's strike rate is phenomenal," Ferguson told reporters.

"That without doubt must be the best [I've seen in the Premier League]. From that distance he is going to hit them. No keeper in the world would save that."

It was difficult to argue with Ferguson that evening, and there's no doubt that Ronaldo's goal still ranks among the best to have been scored in the Premier League. In a career of many moments of magic, it was a piece of skill which will forever be remembered by supporters all over the world.

Man Utd: Van der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Scholes (Anderson 62), Carrick, Park, Ronaldo (Hargreaves 73), Rooney (Tevez 73)

Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin (Hreidarsson 46), Pamarot, Lauren (Mvuemba 46), Davis, Diarra, Kranjcar, Baros (Hughes 78), Mwaruwari

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