The legendary former Red Devils manager opened up about how Cristiano Ronaldo’s determination made him the best player in the world.
Cristiano Ronaldo was ‘born with a desire’ and ‘sacrificed himself to be the best’, says Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Scot, like many Manchester United legends and fans alike, is delighted to see Ronaldo back in red. He had a role in CR7’s comeback and also attended his old protege’s second debut against Newcastle.
Of course, the Ronaldo-Ferguson relationship is well known in football. In their six years together – from 2003 to 2009 – they won nine trophies and the first of Cristiano’s five Champions League and Ballon d’Or titles.
Ronaldo has even claimed that Ferguson ‘taught me everything’ and described him as a father figure in the past.
‘Ronaldo sacrificed himself to be the best’
Now, in a special new UTD Podcast episode, Sir Alex has opened up about how his old star player developed his game.
“A lot of people said he was a diver and there was a little spell of that,” said Ferguson.
“But, after that, he was attacking defenders and all he needed was a nudge and he would waltz by them. He would attack at unbelievable speed. I think the increasing knowledge of his game – I think he was born with a desire.
“He sacrificed himself to be the best. I remember we were playing Arsenal on Saturday and it was pouring 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.’ 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.”
The Real Madrid dream
Asked about Ronaldo’s then-world record €94 million departure for Real Madrid in 2009, Ferguson said: “He had a dream of going to Real Madrid.
“I was not against that. Six years was great for a boy from Madeira, getting him here just after his 18th birthday and having him six years. I think we did well that way and it gave me a chance to get a replacement. We got Antonio Valencia and he was fantastic, so we were very lucky that way.
“I knew [how good he would become]. Absolutely. I knew that. 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.”