A current Real Madrid icon netted in a 10th successive European tie in midweek as Zinedine Zidane’s side secured a commanding 3-0 advantage in the first leg of a quarter-final clash.
A former Blancos star was among the interested observers in Turin, with Van Nistelrooy having been edged out of the history books by the talismanic displays of a modern day legend.
The Dutchman has no complaints at having been passed by a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, especially with the strike which set a new benchmark being so spectacular.
Ex-Real and Manchester United striker Van Nistelrooy told UEFA’s official website of Ronaldo’s stunning bicycle kick: “It was a big game – a quarter-final. Having scored nine consecutive goals in the competition, to score your tenth in a game like that in the way he did…
“Both goals were really good, especially the bicycle kick which was just out of this world. The height he kicked it at was unbelievable.”
Van Nistelrooy represented both Real and United alongside Ronaldo, so is fully aware of what the 33-year-old is capable of.
He remembers noting a unique talent early on, with an ambitious youngster having made it clear from the moment he arrived at Old Trafford that he was destined for the very top.
“He came as a young lad but he knew what he wanted to become, and he also said it: ‘I want to be the best player in the world’,” said Van Nistelrooy.
“At the beginning you think: ‘OK, he's a young lad – keep dreaming’. But the work-rate and talent he's combining has made him achieve his goals, and he's still going strong. It's fantastic.”
Unsurprisingly, Van Nistelrooy has found room for Ronaldo in his dream five-a-side team, with the former Netherlands international mixing fellow countrymen with stars of today.
Pressed for his selection, he said: “In goal, Edwin van der Sar. For Man United and Holland he was amazing for a long period of time – he was on the top of his game.
“Jaap Stam, one of the strongest, quickest, aggressive centre-backs I played against – also good on the ball, too.
“Then Andres Iniesta: the way he plays is fantastic to watch, everything is with technique and vision. He's done it for 10-15 years, too.
“I have two more and that has to be the two who are dominating world football over the last 10 years, destroying every record in football that was there. It's Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. I think that's a pretty decent team.”