Man Utd 4-3 Real Madrid
(Real win 6-5 on aggregate)
Ronaldo single-handedly wrecked Manchester United's Champions League dreams with a virtuoso display at Old Trafford.
Real Madrid's Brazilian superstar scored a stunning hat-trick to destroy United's ambition of reaching the final on home soil in May.
Sir Alex Ferguson's men won a match liberally sprinkled with sparkling attacking football - but Real went through as United's defensive deficiencies were cruelly exposed again.
To add to the drama of a magical evening, David Beckham emerged from the substitutes' bench to score twice as United staged a late rally.
Ruud van Nistelrooy gave United hope when he levelled Ronaldo's early goal.
But Ronaldo struck twice more early in the second half to ensure Real always stayed tantalisingly out of United's reach.
Iven Helguera's own goal and Beckham's double gave United pride and the victory - but not what they so desperately wanted as they went in search of Champions League glory.
Ferguson and his Real counterpart Vicente del Bosque both sprung selection surprises.
United left Beckham out and preferred to recall Juan Sebastian Veron after seven weeks out - while Real gave a shock call-up to Steve McManaman.
Van Nistelrooy gave United early hope with a stinging drive that was well saved by Iker Casillas.
But the moment Old Trafford dreaded above all arrived after only 12 minutes when Ronaldo scored Real's crucial away goal.
It was a move of ruthless precision, with Guti carving open the United rearguard for Ronaldo to fire a finish inside Barthez's near post.
United were stunned and spent most of the first half attempting to regain their composure and fashion a lifeline.
They succeeded three minutes before the interval, and it was provided inevitably by van Nistelrooy.
He scrambled home after good work by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - but United's joy was swiftly snuffed out.
Luis Figo posted the warning signals early in the second half by striking the bar, but it was a brief reprieve as Ronaldo was on target again after 50 minutes.
Zinedine Zidane played in Roberto Carlos, who served up a simple finish for his fellow countryman.
United were quickly back on terms when Ivan Helguera turned Veron's shot into his own net.
But Ronaldo was not to be denied, and any lingering United ambitions ended after 58 minutes when the Brazilian marksman flashed a stunning 25-yard drive past Barthez.
He was then taken off to a standing ovation from everyone inside Old Trafford.
Beckham was introduced in place of the tiring Veron, and he made his point to the manager with a trademark free-kick with 20 minutes left.
He then scrambled home the winner on the night, but it was not enough to stop Real's march on another Champions League trophy.
Man Utd: Barthez, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Brown,
Silvestre (Phil Neville 79), Veron (Beckham 63), Butt,
Keane (Fortune 82), van Nistelrooy, Giggs, Solskjaer.
Subs Not Used: Ricardo, Blanc, Forlan, Fletcher.
Booked: Veron, Fortune.
Real Madrid: Casillas, Salgado, Hierro, Helguera, Carlos,
Zidane, McManaman (Portillo 69), Figo (Pavon 88), Makelele,
Ronaldo (Solari 67), Guti.
Subs Not Used: Cesar, Morientes, Flavio, Cambiasso.
Referee: Pierluigi Collina (Italy).