Shamrock Rovers hero Pat Flynn recalls moment he upended Cristiano Ronaldo at Tallaght Stadium

One of the memorable Shamrock Rovers nights at Tallaght Stadium.

Former Shamrock Rovers defender, and club hero Pat Flynn has recalled the moment he ended up upending Cristiano Ronaldo at Tallaght Stadium when the pair collided on this day 13 years ago.

At the time, Ronaldo was making his Real Madrid debut, after a completing a then world-record move to the Spanish giants.

But just moments into their Tallaght Stadium showdown, Flynn upended Ronaldo at a packed-out Dublin 24 venue, after the ex-Man United forward marauded down his path on the other side of the pitch.

“As it happened, he beat a couple of players and came to me. I said then, ‘this was my time’..”

While Flynn may have enjoyed bigger, and better days at Shamrock Rovers, his moment of upending Ronaldo is remembered fondly at Tallaght Stadium, given the occasion that was.

“It is still one that I tell my own kids [about],” he explains, when speaking to Shamrock Rovers’ in-house media team.

“I remember at the start, there was inklings of us playing Man United at first, or Celtic.. And then all of a sudden Real Madrid signed Kaka and [Karim] Benzema.

“Then it was announced that we were playing Real Madrid in a friendly, and then they signed [Cristiano] Ronaldo. It just exploded from there, and the media were all over us. They wrote some good, and some bad articles about us, but I think they pitted it as me against him.

“I wasn’t even going to be on the same side of the pitch as him at all. But as it happened, he beat a couple of players and came to me. I said then, ‘this was my time’.. It’s a tackle that I look at now, where I used to love telling all the kids about it.”

“It was nicer to play against Juventus!..”

As mentioned by Flynn in his wide-ranging interview with Rovers’ media team, the Hoops did not necessarily earn the right to play against Real Madrid.

Then managed by Manuel Pellegrini, Real’s star-studded side included Benzema, Jerzy Dudek, Pepe, Marcelo and Rafael van der Vaart.

For Flynn, despite holding his own against the Galacticos, his appearances against Juventus, and Copenhagen in European competition are of bigger pride for him.

“For the area, for someone like Ronaldo to be making his debut on the edge of Jobstown, Old Bawn, Killinarden and Springfield. It was a great story for Tallaght in itself, but the way I see it, it was always tongue in cheek,” he explains.

“The one thing about that game was that we didn’t earn it. People always mention Ronaldo, but it was only a friendly.

“As much as it is nice to tell that to the kids now, it was nicer to play against Juventus!”

10 years on from the incident, it’s great that some of these League of Ireland legends have such great memories playing against one of football’s biggest icons.

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