Rumours of Cristiano Ronaldo's demise have been greatly exaggerated. As his contemporary and former teammate Wayne Rooney huffs and puffs his way towards the dying of the light, Ronaldo is still rocking the immaculately chiseled physique he did when breaking through at United. And with a new five-year contract at Madrid in the bag which looks set to make him around €100 million per year, and a hat-trick against Atleti at the weekend lifting Real four points clear at the top of La Liga, things are once again coming up Cristiano.
His current form maintains his remarkable consistency since breaking through at United, having been spotted by Alex Ferguson during a pre-season friendly with Sporting Lisbon.
As the distance from the end of Ferguson's reign grows ever wider, the Scot's time in charge is becoming ever more romanticised, to the extent that it would now appear he governed largely by anecdote.
The signing of Ronaldo, however, seemed to take on an anecdotal life of its own within years of his arrival.
So the story goes, Ronaldo ran John O'Shea ragged to such an extent that Ferguson demanded that United sign Ronaldo immediately.
As Ferguson is understood to have said to Peter Kenyon, when the CEO asked was Ronaldo that good, to warrant such a speedy signing: "John O'Shea's ended up with a migraine! Get him signed!".
Speaking to ESPN FC today, however, O'Shea has defended his honour, more than thirteen years on.
O'Shea says that, while Ronaldo stood out, the situation was exacerbated by the fact that he was badly jet-lagged:
We flew back from a tour of America and straight to Lisbon with severe jet-lag.
Normally everyone wants to play games, but on this occasion everybody had had a terrible nights' sleep before the game, waking up at two, three, four in the morning wide awake and not able to get back to sleep.
So everyone was not, shall we say, in 'peak' condition for the game. Some boys were delighted when the boss announced the team and they weren't starting!
On to the game and I'm starting right-back. Just before the game kicks off, I look up and a young Ronaldo is staring straight at me.
He's there and full of concentration, ready to go.
Now in some books written by former colleagues, there have been some highly exaggerated stories, and believe it or not, about how much 'Ronnie' went past me time after time, and ripped me apart!
My version would be different, but he did have an excellent game.
We'll give O'Shea the benefit of the doubt.