His little wink at the Portugal bench after Wayne Rooney had been sent off in the 2006 World Cup said a lot, it was as if we had looked through a window into his soul. There was no Eric Cantona warmth about him. He was not a vulnerable man. Not a football philosopher. Not a man who played with joie de vivre.
But he is a fucking good footballer, there's no question about that. I am an avid Manchester United supporter and I found it hard to like him but it was even harder still not to admire him.
Despite all his faults and his foibles, he established beyond all reasonable doubt during his Manchester United years that he was the best player in the world.
Frank Lampard, Fernando Torres and Ryan Giggs rolled into one. A midfiled goalscoring machine, a classic centre-forward and a wizard of dribble. A man built to terrorise defences and reduce goalkeepers to quivering wrecks.
Take the towering header he scored against Roma in the Champions League quarterfinal back in April 2008. The height he reached with his leap was simply incredible, the way he brushed the defenders aside like they didn't exist, the bravery of his commitment: Any out and out striker throughout history would have been proud of that.
He was just a never ending joy to watch, whether you are a United fan or not.
The goal he scored against FC Porto in Portugal was the goal of the season. An absolute thunderbolt from 40 yards to end the Portugese teams record of never having lost to an English team at home in the CL. That was a magnificent goal.
His one man demolition of Arsenal in the second leg of the Champions League semi-finals was one of the performances of the season, maybe the best performance of ANY player in a Champions League game.
HE REALLY IS THE PLAYER WHO HAS EVERYTHING. Even if Lionel Messi had the last laugh when Barcelona beat United in Rome last month, Ronaldo is still the best player on the planet.
Messi is easier to like than Ronaldo, so he will always have an advantage purely on that basis with those who are rubbed up the wrong way by Ronaldo's petulance and strutting arrogance.
But all this talk of warmth and how easy Messi is to like obscures the fact that Ronaldo is the harder man to play against.
The day before the Champions League final, one of the best defenders the world has ever seen, Marcel Desailly, declared that Ronaldo, not Messi, would have been his worst nightmare.
Unpredictable, powerful, good in the air, lightning fast, an explosive shooter, a fine crosser, a dead-ball expert: there was nothing he couldn't do. United will not miss his attitude. Nor will they regret the absence of his posturing and his selfishness but even if Sir Alex Ferguson is allowed to invest all the £80m from his sale in the purchase of new players, United will be a poorer team without Ronaldo.
The sad thing is that Ronaldo will almost certainly be a poorer player without United, too. At Old Trafford, he had men like Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez who were willing to run themselves into the ground for the team and leave the glory to Ronaldo.
The attacking part of the team was built around him. Others made sacrifices. He reaped the rewards.
Despite all that, he has agitated for a move to Madrid like a little boy tugging at his mummy's sleeve and whining and whimpering until he gets what he wants.
Well now he's got his wish and so to Ronaldo the footballer I say good luck and may you have many, many years of good fortune and success and thankyou so much for all you did for Manchester United and us, the fans.
But to Ronaldo the man consumed by narcissism and hubris, I say grow up and good riddance.
Even if Lionel Messi had the last laugh when Barcelona beat United in Rome last month, Ronaldo is still the best player on the planet.....no one will make me believe otherwise.
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