Which footballer holds the record for the longest period between English Premier League appearances?

The footballer who holds the record for the longest period between English Premier League appearances is five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, better known simply as Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese superstar made his Premier League debut for Manchester United on August 16, 2003 when, as a 17-year-old, he replaced Nicky Butt after 61 minutes during a 4-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford. In his first stint with the Red Devils, Ronaldo made his final Premier League appearance in a 0-0 draw with Arsenal, again at Old Trafford, on May 16, 2009.

Thereafter, ‘El Bicho’, as Ronaldo would become known, joined Real Madrid for the then record transfer fee of £80 million. During the course of nine seasons at Santiago Bernabéu, he scored

451 goal in 438 competitive appearances for Los Galácticos, winning La Liga twice and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League four times, among numerous other honours. Nevertheless, a breakdown in his relationship with Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez

led to Ronaldo leaving the Spanish capital in July, 2018 when, at the age of 33, he moved to Juventus for £100 million.

On August 31, 2021, Ronaldo re-signed for Manchester United for £12.85 million and, on September 11, 12 years, 3 months and 16 days after his last Premier League appearance, made his second debut at Old Trafford. He made a bright start to his second stint at the club, scoring twice in a 4-1 victory over Newcastle United but, thereafter, Ronaldo and Manchester United struggled, finishing only sixth in the Premier League and finishing without a trophy for the fifth season in a row. Ronaldo repeatedly expressed his dissatisfaction with the club, criticising the appointment of intermi manager Ralf Rangnick and saying in an interview that he had ‘no respect’ for his successor, Erik ten Hag. His United contract was terminated, by mutual consent, on November 22, 2022.

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