- Match Analysis
Legendary former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has opened up about his relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo this week, and revealed just makes the five time Ballon d’Or winner one of the best of all time.
Ronaldo spent six years under the tuition of Ferguson at Old Trafford, with the Scot credited from turning him from a talented but enigmatic promise to the all-conquering superstar we see today.
After impressing against them in a pre-season friendly for Sporting Lisbon back in 2003, United thrashed out a deal for the then 18 year-old and within days he was unveiled on a £12.2million deal.
It took a while for him to really blossom in England, and in his first few years he was criticised for being a diver and his poor decision making. However, Ferguson cited his supreme work ethic as the reason behind him refining his game and developing into one of the world’s best players.
“Sometimes, a player has something more in his insatiable desire to train. In that respect, Cristiano was the best. After training, he always had something else to work on: free kicks, crossing, finishing…” said Ferguson.
“I recall one Friday when it was pouring and we were playing Arsenal the next day. I had asked him to not go on the pitch because it was waterlogged.”
“He said, “Ok boss” So, he resumed training on the artificial pitch… Obviously, this is not a form of criticism. What do you want me to say? It shows his perseverance and desire to never stop working.”
Ferguson also praised Ronaldo for his great courage, a quality he says is shared between him and a number of other great players down the years.
“All the great players had courage. They say, “Give me the ball. Regardless of the player marking me, I will step up and show who I am.” Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, Di Stefano, Best as well. That is courage: being ready to always have the ball at your feet, despite the physical contact that goes along with it. And that – is what all great players have.”
“Knowing that I have had a role in his development is magnificent. I believe that Cristiano has always been grateful for the important part that Manchester United played in his career.”