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Cristiano Ronaldo always asks about Manchester United – still fond of the club

Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has stated that Portugal and Juventus winger Cristiano Ronaldo is always interested in the latest developments from the Old Trafford club, his former club. Signed in the summer of 2003 for £12.24 million from Sporting Clube de Portugal, also the former club of Fernandes, 25, Ronaldo has around six years at United before leaving for Real Madrid, a club he continued the success which started in Manchester.

Winning the Ballon d’Or for the first time in 2008 after United won the Premier League and UEFA Champions League double in the 2007/08 season, and going on to win five more Ballon d’Or awards at the Spanish club, also winning four more Champions League titles at the club before leaving for Juventus in the summer of 2018. Ronaldo scored 118 goals and 69 assists in 292 appearances at United before leaving for £80 million in the summer of 2009 and has always remained friendly to the club, even when playing – and scoring, against United.

Fernandes arrived at United during the January transfer window and in 22 appearances for the club so far, has scored 12 goals and eight assists for United, making a total of 50 appearances, scoring 27 goals and 22 assists between both United and Sporting, having 49 goal contributions in 50 matches, which shows the quality of player that United have signed. Fernandes has revealed that his compatriot, Ronaldo, has always remained interested in United when they speak.

Fernandes recently spoke to the official Manchester United website and was asked whether he spoke to Ronaldo. It has been revealed that Patrice Evra spoke to Ronaldo himself to find out about Fernandes before United signed the player in January, seemingly helping United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sign Fernandes as he was the player they needed to add, based on the success he has had at the club so far. Answering the question about whether he spoke to his compatriot, Fernandes said:

“I spoke with him after, not before. I said before – Manchester, for me, was the dream team. I always wanted to play for this team and it doesn’t matter who can talk about it – bad or good, I will come.

“It was my dream to play in the Premier League. I have the choice to come to Manchester United and it was two dreams in one. It was perfect. Of course, I spoke with Cristiano after and he spoke very well about the club. I spoke with him some days ago, again.

“Every time I speak with him, he asks me how Manchester is and if everything is okay. Everyone knows he spent a lot of time in Manchester and he has consideration for the club. He likes the club, I think he won his first Ballon d’Or here, so it’s a club who’ve marked him, for sure.”

It is good to hear that Ronaldo is still very much interested in United, which is the club he was given a change at a much higher level than he was playing in Portugal – Fernandes is experiencing the same thing now. Ronaldo was able to show his skillset and his talent at United and be guided by Sir Alex Ferguson, one of the most decorated managers in British football, which clearly helped him reach for the stars, a level he is still at today, despite being ten years senior to Fernandes.

Written by John Walker

Cristiano Ronaldo played a part in Bruno Fernandes signing for Manchester United

Former Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra has confirmed that he sought out the advise of former United winger Cristiano Ronaldo during the time when United were considering a move to sign Sporting Clube de Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes. The 25-year-old has had a good season, both for his former club and United, making 50 appearances, scoring 27 goals and 22 assists – 49 goal contributions. Fernandes has played 22 times for United, scoring 12 goals and eight assists.

Fernandes and Ronaldo play together for Portugal so Evra thought he would get some good insight from the Portuguese winger, getting in contact with him on behalf of United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. It was enough for United to get the deal done, which should have been completed last summer in my opinion, which could have seen United have a much better 2019/20 season. Evra recently spoke to The Guardian, where he was quoted as saying:

“When they wanted to sign Bruno Fernandes, Ole texted me. I asked for advice from Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Cristiano says: ‘Bruno’s a good guy and very professional.’ I say: ‘Ole, I’ve spoken with Cristiano. Let’s go for it.’

“And Fernandes had a massive impact. Without him I don’t think we would have qualified for the Champions League.”

Fernandes has been a revelation for United since making his debut on the 1 February against Wolverhampton Wanderers, despite that match being a 0-0 draw. The Portuguese magnifico has recently given the warning that he is going to become more lethal next season, which will be something the 25-year-old will be confident with after making the impact that he has done at the club. However, Evra is not so confident about United’s chances of taking on Liverpool for the Premier League title, saying:

“United can’t challenge Liverpool or Manchester City. Not yet. There’s been massive damage but we’re moving in the right direction.

“United have qualified for the Champions League. It’s not a big achievement but it’s massive progress from where we’ve come. I love Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer].”

United require some major investment to bring up the quality of the squad this summer. Whilst the preferred starting XI is strong, United do not have the same kinds of quality across the remainder of the squad with many players struggling to perform to the level the manager wants them to. The likes of Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira could leave the club this summer, failing to make the grade for the last two or three seasons now. United will need to rotation throughout the season, so will need the quality to do that without the team struggling on the pitch, like they have done this season, which was there to see towards the end of the restart.

Written by John Walker

Rio Ferdinand speaks about run-in with Cristiano Ronaldo

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has spoken about the time that he first realised that Cristiano Ronaldo was going to be a superstar. The former United captain has already spoken about former teammate John O’Shea needing an oxygen tank after facing the player against Sporting Lisbon in a pre-season friendly weeks before Sir Alex Ferguson signed the player, who should be considered as one of, if not the best player in the world right now.

Ferdinand, now a pundit for the television, explained how an 18-year-old Ronaldo dazzled him in that pre-season friendly in 2003. The Portuguese winger made such an impact against United that Ferguson and former chief executive of United, David Gill delayed the team bus from leaving the ground for an hour as they tried to do business for Ronaldo after the match. It was a match to christen the Jose Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon with United wasting little time to steal an advance over their rivals.

Ronaldo showed his grace when signing for United on the 12 August 2003, replacing David Beckham at the club, who had left for Real Madrid in July for £25 million. Ronaldo donned the famous number seven shirt at United and helped the club win nine major honours including; three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, one UEFA Champions League, and one FIFA Club World Cup. The winger made 292 appearances for United, scoring 118 goals and 69 assists in six years before leaving for Real Madrid himself in the summer of 2009.

The you look at the career that Ronaldo has had and is still having, you can see what a truly world class player he is. United signed a player with potential with Ferguson helping to turn the player into a world star. It would have been great for United to keep the player for his entire career, but it was not meant to be. Ronaldo had a dream that he wanted to achieve and I think he has more than done that. Ferdinand, speaking to BT Sport and reported by The Sun, was quoted as saying:

“He started there. We arrived there coming back from America on tour, this was the last leg everyone was knackered, jet-lagged etc and we got asked to play in it late.

“We obviously got there, opened the stadium, we came off that pitch and anyone who didn’t know about Cristiano Ronaldo before we got there definitely did by the time we left.

“When we got to the stadium in the pre-match warm-up, people started, it got around – people saying that kid there, he’s meant to be a superstar. Bearing in mind we’d missed out on signing Ronaldinho as well that summer.

“We were still on the search for a superstar but we didn’t see it coming in the form of a young teenager. But by the time the game finished all the players were saying to the manager ‘When are we going to get him?’

“We were sat on the coach after – ‘Where are we going?’ – delayed an hour, want to get home after a big tour. And the manager and David Gill, the chief executive at the time, were upstairs doing a deal trying to sign him straight away, great recruitment.”

This season, if the Ballon d’Or was still happening, Ronaldo could well have matched Lionel Messi’s sis trophies but he would have had a hard task of winning with the performances of Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, who might have beaten the Portuguese winger, as Luka Modric did in 2018 with Ronaldo coming third in 2019. United were lucky to see the player in the flesh at a young age which changed the course of history for both United and Ferguson, who reached the promised land for the second time in his career after seeing his side beat Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League final in 2008.

Written by John Walker

Cristiano Ronaldo: Nurtured in Manchester, starred in Madrid and now reigning in Turin

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aviero was born in Funchal on the island of Madeira, Portugal on the 5 February 1985. He started playing football in 1992 playing for Andorinha, leaving in 1995 for Nacional. In 1997 he signed for Sporting Clube de Portugal. In 2002 he was playing for the clubs B team and was fastly promoted to the first team. It was playing in the first team that Sir Alex Ferguson first saw Ronaldo, signing him a matter of days later. The Portuguese winger famously made John O’Shea need an oxygen tank, according to Rio Ferdinand.

When Ronaldo signed for United for a fee of £12.24 million at the age of 18, he had effectively replaced David Beckham, who left for Real Madrid for a fee of £25 million after a public spat with Ferguson, something which has now been buried by history with the two correcting their differences. Ronaldo donned the famous number seven shirt at the club and despite his showboating antics, he quickly found his feet and set his sights on becoming the best player in the world, rivalled by Lionel Messi.

In his first season at the club, Ronaldo helped win the FA Cup in the 2003/04 season beating Millwall 3-0 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff with Ronaldo scoring the opening goal and Ruud Van Nistelrooy scoring a brace. His second trophy (in his third season) was the Carling Cup in the 2005/06 season, beating Wigan Athletic 4-0, against at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, scoring the final goal. Wayne Rooney scored a brace with Louis Saha scoring the other.

In his fourth season (2006/07 season) at United, won the Premier League title after a three year absence with Arsenal winning one and Chelsea winning two. It was something that United would dominate for the remaining three seasons of Ronaldo’s career at the club. However, in the 2007/08 season, United started off by winning the FA Community Shield, retaining the Premier League title and ending by winning the UEFA Champions League with Ronaldo famously scoring against Chelsea and missing a penalty with United winning in sudden death.

In his final season at United (2008/09), United started by winning the FIFA Club World Cup beating Gamba Osaka 5-3 in the semi-finals before beating LDU Quito 1-0 in the final. It was the first trophy won that season. United also won the League Cup again, beating Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 on penalties. Importantly, Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or in 2008 becoming the first player since George Best (1968) to win the award. The club also won their 18th league title with their third Premier League title in a row – the second time the club had done this in the history of the Premier League. They also made it to the Champions League final in Rome but were beaten 2-0 by Barcelona.

It was the summer Ronaldo left United with it rumoured to be happening in the summer of 2008 after United won the Champions League for the third time, the second time under Ferguson. At United, Ronaldo made a total of 292 appearances, scoring 118 goals and 69 assists. He obviously went on to become a much better player scoring goals for fun but will be thankful for his time at United, which helped him become the player he is today. Real Madrid spent £80 million on the Portuguese winger who would break records at the Santiago Bernabeu.

At Real Madrid, Ronaldo spent nine seasons at the club, winning two La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys, two Supercopa de España’s and most notably four UEFA Champions League trophies, taking his personal haul to five. He also won the UEFA Super Cup twice and three FIFA Club World Cups, taking his personal haul to four. In terms of personal achievement, Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or four more times (2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017) winning five of them so far in his career. He made a total of 438 appearances in Madrid, scoring 450 goals and 133 assists becoming the clubs top scorer, topping Raúl by 127 goals.

It could all have been different though as Sir Alex Ferguson had a plan to re-sign Ronaldo for United just two weeks before announcing his retirement as revealed by Patrice Evra as reported by The Mirror in May. There were rumours of Ronaldo returning to Old Trafford almost every transfer window something that might still happen today, as long as the player is still playing. It could have changed the players entire career in the summer of 2013, if Ferguson had not retired. Speaking about the audacious plan, Evra speaking on the UTD Podcast reported by The Mirror, said:

“You know, you talk about the hardest moments [in my United career], I would say maybe this (Fergie’s retirement) is the one.

“Two weeks before that, I remember there was a lot of media saying Ferguson will maybe retire next year, and he said, ‘Patrice, I will never retire. I will be here another 10 years’.

“He then said: ‘My target is I’m 99 per cent sure we will have Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. I just need these two players to win the Champions League again. Ninety-nine per cent.’

“And to be fair, when I speak with Cristiano, I ask him and he said yes to the boss, and was coming to join United. He told me this.”

Ronaldo left Madrid for Juventus in the summer of 2018 with the Italian club paying €100 million for the player with a further €12 million in other fees. In his first season at the Old Lady, Ronaldo helped the club win the Supercoppa Italiana and the Serie A title. In his second season at the club, Juventus retained their Serie A title but were knocked out of the Champions League at the hands of Lyon which saw Maurizio Sarri sacked days later with club legend Andrea Pirlo taking over. So far in Italy, Ronaldo has made 89 appearances, scoring 65 goals and 18 assists. He has two more years remaining on his contract and at 35 he still seems to be playing at the top of his game.

Former United teammate Gary Neville recently spoke to Sky Sports about Ronaldo, which was reported by the official Juventus website in which the former United captain stated that he thought Ronaldo would be seeking to break Pele’s goalscoring record of 1,281 goals in 1,363 matches, So far, Ronaldo has made 850 appearances, scored 638 goals and 223 assists so he has a long way to go with 643 goals needed to match Pele’s record. Ronaldo will be celebrated during his career as he has won multiple league titles in three different countries; England, Spain and Italy, winning all his other honours and showing his skill and class in every step of the way. Neville said:

“Sir Alex Ferguson and Carlos Queiroz, I think it’s important to put Carlos Queiroz in the category with Sir Alex, they were both champions of him, they both believed in him.

“I think that Ronaldo came back from the World Cup that summer it was like everything had changed. His maturity and his decision-making, which was a big thing, his experience, his physical attributes had completely changed overnight.

“He went from someone who, if you look at his early pictures at Manchester United, he was scrawny, really thin, wiry, didn’t look very strong.

“All of a sudden, I think it was after that 2006 World Cup, he came back like a super-middleweight boxer. His body had just completely transformed, he was absolutely incredible.

“From a strength point of view and a plyometric point of view, the ability to leap, the ability to score with his head, the ability to change direction, everything seems to fall into place. It was just a maturity, physically, mentally, everything happened to him.

“It was brilliant to watch, there was a point I remember going into the gym after one training session and speaking to Mike Clegg [United’s strength and conditioning coach] who worked very hard with Cristiano physically in the gym and saying to him, ‘I don’t know what he’s going to do next’.

“You didn’t know where he was going to be defensively, you didn’t know when he was going to release the ball, players in the middle of the box didn’t know when he was going to cross it. It was just erratic.

“But they had great faith in him, Sir Alex Ferguson and Carlos Queiroz, and they believed in him, put him forward in front of players who had greater reputations at the time and he developed into something brilliant.

“His drive was out of this world to become the best in the world. He’s one of the very few players that I’ve played with that would publicly announce that the individual trophies were important to him.

“He just wanted to be the very, very best in the world and it’s so important to him.

“It’s an obsession. Absolute obsession with scoring goals. Applying himself every single day, being the fittest he can possibly be. I think he’s lifted his professionalism every single year and progressed.

“Jamie [Carragher] mentioned before about James Milner wanting to play into his late 30s and 40s. I think he [Ronaldo] has a plan to go on and take over Pele’s record.

“I genuinely believe he wants to go on and beat Pele’s numbers.

“That’s where I think he’s at in his mind, he wants to be the greatest of all time, that is his sole purpose, understanding that along the way if he is the greatest of all time, the teams that he plays for will win trophies and be successful.”

Ronaldo is one of the best footballers of his time, if not the best. His rivalry with Lionel Messi will have been something that contributed to two of the best footballer players in the world play together, in the same league for much of their careers. The two players dominated the Ballon d’Or for ten years from 2008 to 2017 with Luka Modric breaking the monopoly of the two world-class players in 2018. Ronaldo has won five Ballon d’Or’s with Messi winning six. For the first time since 1956, there will be no Ballon d’Or winner in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Because of this Ronaldo will be looking to win his sixth title in 2021.

Written by John Walker

John O’Shea needed ‘oxygen tank’ after playing against Cristiano Ronaldo in 2003

Manchester United signed a relatively unknown player in Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer of 2003, the same summer that David Beckham left the club after a bust up with manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Before Ronaldo was signed by United, the club has a pre-season friendly with his club and as former United defender and captain Rio Ferdinand puts his, his teammate, John O’Shea needed an ‘oxygen tank’ after the match because of the performance of the 18-year-old Portuguese winger.

United were beaten 3-1 by Sporting Lisbon in that match but it had allowed Ferguson to see more of Ronaldo, who was tipped to be a player of a new generation of the time, and they were right. Ferguson was adamant to sign the 18-year-old, which he did only a matter of days later but O’Shea was left feeling dead on his feet after United were given the runaround by the Portuguese club. Speaking as part of EA SPORTS and COPA90’s “Stay Home. Play Together” campaign and reported by The Sun, Ferdinand said:

“We played against Sporting in 2003, we get in at half-time and John O’Shea must’ve needed an oxygen tank next to him.

“He was in bits and he was sitting there panting. We were telling him to get closer to Ronaldo and he couldn’t even answer us.

“To be fair, me, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt were standing there going ‘this kid’s unbelievable, we’ve got to sign him’.

“We got on the coach and we were delayed for about an hour and a half, and then they said they were doing a deal to sign Ronaldo now.”

Of course, the rest is history with Ronaldo signing for the Old Trafford club for just £12.24 million less than a week after this match and the player was handed a starting role at the club and Beckham’s old shirt, the famous number seven. It was a while before Ronaldo started to show what he could do for the club, being tricky and quick as United looked to overcome the loss of Beckham but the England captain was soon forgotten as Ronaldo started to find his feet at the club. At the time he signed for United, Ronaldo said:

“I am very happy to be signing for the best team in the world, and especially proud to be the first Portuguese player to join Manchester United.

“I look forward to helping the team achieve even more success in the years to come.”

The player literally became one of, if not the best player in the world at United and in the summer of 2009, left for Real Madrid for £80 million. It was a big loss for United but the six years the player had at United literally kickstarted his career in world football. Ronaldo made a total 292 appearances for United, scoring 118 goal and 69 assists. At United, Ronaldo won three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups, one FA Community Shield, one UEFA Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup. Individually though, Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or at United being the first United player since George Best (1968) and Sir Bobby Charlton (1966)to win the award.

Written by John Walker

Former United chief confirms why United chose Ronaldo over Ronaldinho

Former Manchester United chief Peter Kenyon has spilled the beans as to why the Old Trafford club ended up signing Sporting Club de Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo, then 18, over Brazilian legend Ronaldinho, who signed for Barcelona that summer. There was plenty of speculation linking Ronaldinho to the Theatre of Dreams and United wanted to sign the player. But with hindsight, it is better that they signed Ronaldo as it is better to sign a young star on the way to brightness than to sign a bright star that was fading.

United signed Ronaldo for £12.24 million in the summer of 2003, after David Beckham left for Real Madrid for £25 million. Ronaldo donned the number seven shirt and quickly became the missing link in the team as he grew in stature at the Theatre of Dreams. Ronaldo spent six years at United before signing for Real Madrid himself, which was his dream and never hidden away for more than £80 million, an amount that was not reinvested in the squad that summer which saw United start to decline.

Ronaldinho was a Paris Saint-Germain player that summer, signing for the club in 2001. United were eventually priced out of a move for the player, who as sold to Catalan club Barcelona for £29 million and when you consider some transfers today can be double or triple that figure, it makes you realise how inflated transfer fees are in modern football. Ronaldinho was a snip at £29 million for Barcelona and what he achieved at the club will underline that – two La Liga titles, two Supercopa de España and one UEFA Champions League.

Kenyon was in charge of United for six year before leaving for Chelsea, which was a controversial decision as Kenyon had previously proclaimed himself as a lifelong Manchester United supporter. Kenyon left Chelsea back in October 2009, spending a little over six years at the London club. Recently, the businessman spoke to the Daily Telegraph and confirmed that United wanted to sign Ronaldinho, which was just one of many players who got away from United, which was great at this period for the club. Kenyon stated:

“We did try really hard for Ronaldinho. And in the end we offered what was a load of money even by our standards and there came a point…

“Getting the player just for the amount of money paid didn’t sit well at United.

“There was a decision that if he is right and we do want him we will pay because we could.

“It crossed the line and on reflection – and this is not about his ability – it turned out to be a great decision.”

When you look at what United could have had with Ronaldinho, and the fact that whilst at Barcelona he made a total of 207 appearances, scoring 94 goals and 71 assists at the club. Over the course of his career, the Brazilian legend made a total of 533 appearances, scoring 196 goals and 162 assists. On the other hand, Ronaldo at 18 was a better prospect. There was a chance that United, under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson, one of the greatest of his time, could help turn Ronaldo into a player of Ronaldinho’s calibre. This was achieved. At United, Ronaldo made a total of 292 appearances, scoring 118 goals and 69 assists. During his career, so far, he made made a total of 845 appearances, scored 633 goals and 223 assists. Winning the Champions League five times and the Ballon d’Or five times shows that United, having a hand in Ronaldo’s career, made the right decision.

Written by John Walker

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer asked Patrice Evra for Cristiano Ronaldo’s number to ask him about Bruno Fernandes before January transfer

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed that he had to get Cristiano Ronaldo’s telephone number from former United left-back Patrice Evra before contacting him to ask about Bruno Fernandes before United purchased the Portuguese midfielder from Sporting Clube de Portugal during the January transfer window.

The Norwegian manager was aiming to get Ronaldo’s thoughts on Fernandes before United signed the player, which was a good thing to do seeing as United needed the impetus from someone this season with creativity seemingly a major problem in the squad before the 25-year-olds arrival at the Theatre of Dreams.

It has previously been reported that Ronaldo’s glowing endorsement of his compatriot’s ability helped him seal his dream move to United earlier this year, which has been a revelation in helping United achieve on the pitch with the Portuguese midfielder scoring eight goals and seven assists in 15 appearances for the club so far.

Solskjaer, explaining on the clubs High Performance podcast talked about Evra being the facilitator in him getting in contact with Ronaldo to speak about Fernandes about a possible transfer and it seems what Ronaldo said was a glowing reference to the midfielder which ended with him signing for United and pulling the string right away. Solskjaer said:

“So obviously Cristiano [Ronaldo] was an easy goal for me that I managed to get through.

“Through Patrice Evra, I managed to get hold of Cristiano and his recommendation obviously stood him [Bruno Fernandes] in good stead.”

Fernandes has done well at United so far, winning back to back Premier League Player of the Month awards for March and June, the gap being the suspension of the Premier League from mid-March until mid-June because of the coronavirus pandemic. Fernandes’ partnership with Paul Pogba in midfield is a positive one which will drive the player’s and club forward, contesting for honours in the near future.

Nani talks about living with Cristiano Ronaldo and the former Manchester United icons pursuit of perfection

Former Manchester United winger Nani has talked about living with Cristiano Ronaldo, a former teammate of the play for both United and Portugal and the fact the winger was striving for perfection, seemingly finding it before he left the Old Trafford club and continuing it at Real Madrid and now Juventus, along with playing for his country.

Ronaldo signed for United in the summer of 2003, replacing David Beckham at the club, who left for Real Madrid that summer. Nani arrived in the summer of 2007 – both players leaving Sporting Clube de Portugal for the Old Trafford club. Nani played with his compatriot at United for two years before Ronaldo left the club.

Ronaldo had settled in, spending four years at United before Nani arrived and was living in a luxury house. Instead of being placed in a hotel until they had found permanent accommodation, Nani and another new face at United, Anderson were both offered the chance to live with Ronaldo, a chance they took up – the rest being history.

The new summer signings for United may have thought that their new residence was a place to relax and get ready for the days ahead, however, Ronaldo’s competitive streak came through with regular table tennis, swimming and tennis contests between the trio, which might have been good for fitness but not if they wanted to win. Speaking to the Players’ Tribune, Nani said:

“Not many mentioned Manchester United. But my agent, Jorge Mendes, wrote down the names of all the clubs and said, ‘For me, the best team you can choose is this one’. He pointed at Manchester United.

“I spoke with Sir Alex [Ferguson]. He wants to build you up the same way he built up Cristiano [Ronaldo]’. Before I knew it, I was looking for a house in Manchester.

“At the start I was supposed to move into a hotel, but Jorge asked me ‘Would you mind staying with Cristiano?’ So I moved in with him and Anderson, who had just arrived at Manchester United.

“Cristiano had a swimming pool, a ping-pong table, a tennis court — and every day we would compete at something. By the time Anderson and I left that house, we had become allergic to defeat.

“Sir Alex was like a father to me. Guys like Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs gave me so much good advice. I became friends with Antonio Valencia, Fabio and Rafael [da Silva], Cristiano, Anderson and many others.”

It would seem that it was a good experience for Nani and something that Ferguson would have approved of, especially if the competitions between the trio left all of them hungry to win, which is something that United, at the time, wanted too, reaching two consecutive UEFA Champions League finals (2007/08 and 2008/09) before Ronaldo left the club, another after (2010/11); winning one of the three finals (2007/08).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has found his own Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United – the future could be brilliant for player and club

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has found the Old Trafford club’s next Cristiano Ronaldo in academy graduate Mason Greenwood. It is a big confidence booster for the 18-year-old and a big statement to make but it is of the opinion of former United striker Dimitar Berbatov and he kind of has a point.

During his time at United, signing for the club in the summer of 2008 and leaving for Fulham in the summer of 2012, Berbatov scored 56 goals and 27 assists in 149 appearances, winning two Premier League titles, one League Cup, one FA Community Shield and FIFA Club World Cup. The Bulgarian feels that Greenwood is that good United do not need to sign another forward this summer. Berbatov said:

“Greenwood, against Brighton, was like Ronaldo. His left foot is unbelievable along with his vision, I don’t think many signings are needed to take United to that next level.

“They need to be really classy players to make the difference, someone who is going to be better than the current squad of players.”

Against Brighton and Hove Albion, a match which United won 3-0, Greenwood opened up the scoring in the 16th minute of the match, assisted by Aaron Wan-Bissaka and then turned provider for the third goal of the match, playing the ball over to Bruno Fernandes, who had scored the second goal too, on the right so he could score the third. Solskjaer praised the player for his performance, saying:

“He’s getting better. You can see clearly that he’s maturing and improving, he’s only 18 still so we will see more from him.

“I’ve said it throughout the year that as long as we can get him faced up in and around the box he’ll create chances for us but in this game his hold-up play and his link-up play and general movement was fantastic as well.

“It’s great when he can go inside and outside, both to his left and right. He’s a special talent, a special kid that we are going to look after, try to develop into a top top player.

“He’s doing well now but he is still young and has things to learn. He knows that but we have a special talent there we have to nurture.”

It might be premature for Berbatov to label Greenwood as the new Ronaldo but he has done so knowing just how good the player is right now, at the age of 18 and how that talent could grow. If you look at it this way, Greenwood has played 39 times for the U18’s scoring 39 goals and 15 assists, which was a great start to his career.

In addition to that, at U19 level, Greenwood represented United five times, scoring five goals and one assist. That shows that he was able to adapt to a slightly higher level, raising his game. At U23 level, Greenwood represented United just eight times, scoring five goals and two assists. Looking at what he achieved at youth level shows what he’s capable of.

Greenwood played 52 times at the various youth levels at United, scoring 49 goals and assisting a further 18 times, which is a great goal involvement rate of 1.28 goals per game, whether scored of assisted. With minimal experience at U23 level, Greenwood has walked into the first team and risen to the challenge, scoring 13 goals and five assists in 40 appearances or 0.45 goal involvements per match.

If Greenwood can be compared to Ronaldo now, what kind of player will he be after three of four years experience in the first team. Solskjaer knows that he has a special player in his team at this moment in time and Berbatov knows that Greenwood is a player that could be something great with more experience. The player right now, seems grounded, which is a great sign for the future.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in the world, just beating Lionel Messi, says Bruno Fernandes

Manchester United and Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes has chosen his compatriot, Cristiano Ronaldo as the best player in the world at present, just beating Barcelona forward Lionel Messi. The 25-year-old followed in Ronaldo’s footsteps in January by league Sporting Clube de Portugal for United.

Fernandes has seemingly hit the ground running at United, making 11 appearances, scoring four goals and four more assists and seems to be vastly proving his ability in England’s top flight, just as Ronaldo did 17 years ago, despite being seven years his junior at the time he left Portugal for Manchester, proving himself as a world-class player at the club.

The United midfielder, who compliments French World Cup winning midfielder, Paul Pogba at the club, having played with him competitively for the first time a week ago, spoke to Ronaldo before making he move from Sporting to United, which was heavy speculation last summer, materialising in nothing, making the move six months later instead.

Fernandes spoke to SoccerBible during the coronavirus lockdown in the United Kingdom, speaking about many things. However, in this instance the 25-year-old spoke about his international teammate, Ronaldo who he says is the best player in the world right now. Speaking about this and giving more insight as to how he came to the conclusion, Fernandes said:

“As a person from Portugal, every time someone mentions your name with [Cristiano] Ronaldo, you just have to be grateful. You can like [Lionel] Messi more than Ronaldo or you can like Pele more than any other player.

“I didn’t see Pele play so I can’t say he was the biggest player in the world. For me, Cristiano is the best I’ve ever seen. Messi and Cristiano are the best. You can’t say they are not the best players in the world. You can like one or there other.

“Italian people may like someone like Pirlo, English people may like Beckham more, you have your choice but what these two players have done for football (Messi and Ronaldo) is impressive.

“Cristiano is a Portuguese guy like me, I need to enjoy him. He is the best for me.

“When I arrived at Manchester United, people in the kitchen would say, ‘do you know, every day when Cristiano came in he would go around and say good morning to everyone’. Two ladies come to me every day and say ‘You know Cristiano did that, you need to do the same'”

Ronaldo has achieved so much in his career for both club(s) and country. At Sporting, the young forward played 31 times, scoring five goals and five assists. He won the Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira with the club before leaving for United. At the Old Trafford club, he replaced David Beckham donning the famous number seven shirt.

In six years at United, Ronaldo played a total of 292 times, scoring 118 goals and 69 assists, winning three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups, one FA Community Shield, one UEFA Champions League, and one FIFA Club World Cup. From United, Ronaldo headed to Real Madrid with the Spanish club paying £80 million for the player.

In Madrid, Ronaldo spent nine seasons, playing 438 times, scoring 450 goals and 131 assists, winning two La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys, two Supercopa de España, four Champions Leagues, two UEFA Super Cups and three Club World Cups. Ronaldo left Madrid for Juventus and has played 78 times, scoring 54 goals and 14 assists, winning the Serie A and the Supercoppa Italiana. With Portugal, Ronaldo has been capped 117 times, scoring 82 goals, winning UEFA Euro 2016 and the UEFA Nations League.

copyright: JW