Cristiano Ronaldo completed his return to Manchester United at the start of the month, 12 years after he ended his first spell with the club, joining Real Madrid
Sir Alex Ferguson never had any doubt that Cristiano Ronaldo would reach the pinnacle of the game.
The legendary Manchester United boss was the man that brought a young Ronaldo to Old Trafford, developing him into one of the world’s best.
In six seasons with United, Ronaldo won three Premier League titles and a Champions League, as well as winning the first of his five Ballon d’Ors.
He then joined Real Madrid in 2009, becoming one of the most prolific scorers in European history in the process.
After a spell with Juventus, the 36-year-old returned to United earlier this summer in one of the biggest transfers in recent years.
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Ferguson was in attendance for Ronaldo’s Old Trafford return against Newcastle and he admitted that he knew the forward would become the best player in the world.
“I knew [how good he would become]. Absolutely. I knew that,” he told the club’s official site.
“When he got to that kind of platform at Real Madrid. To be fair to Real, they are one club that has produced world-class players for years and years and won the European cup so many times, 13 or something.
“You’ve got to give them credit – it is a platform where any great player would love to go to.”
The Scot then recalled an incident at the club’s Carrington training ground which exemplified his stunning dedication to improving.
“He sacrificed himself to be the best,” Ferguson added. “I remember we were playing Arsenal on the Saturday and it was pouring with rain at Carrington. I said to him, and you know he would always practice after training, and I said, ‘In. We’ve got a game tomorrow and it’s too wet. The ground is too soft.’
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“So I went into my office, looked out of the window and what did he do? He went on the Astroturf. I had no argument! I couldn’t say anything to him. He’s beat me.”
Ronaldo has four goals in his first four games back with United, although he did fail to score for the first time since his return during the defeat to Aston Villa.
Kortney Hause’s late header condemned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to defeat, with Bruno Fernandes missing an injury-time penalty.
Fernandes was given the responsibility from 12 yards, despite Ronaldo’s presence, but he fired well over the crossbar.