Sir Alex Ferguson praised Cristiano Ronaldo for a ‘fantastic’ second debut at Manchester United and compared his return to ‘Caesar entering Rome after victory’.
Ronaldo completed a shock return to the Red Devils this summer – 12 years after leaving Old Trafford for Real Madrid – and scored twice in his first game back against Newcastle.
The former Manchester United boss was in the crowd cheering the Portugal international on and credited Ronaldo’s ‘I saw, I came, I conquered’ approach for creating an electric atmosphere.
Sir Alex Ferguson praised Cristiano Ronaldo for a ‘fantastic’ second debut at Man United
Manchester United beat Newcastle 4-1 thanks to the help of Ronaldo’s brace. However, it was Old Trafford’s atmosphere that caught the attention of Ferguson.
Ronaldo was cheered from the moment he left the team bus on its arrival at the ground. He then was greeted with nothing but love when he strolled out for the warm-up.
The former Manchester United manager – who led the Red Devils to 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League crowns – told the club’s official podcast: ‘It’s fantastic.
‘You saw on that Saturday (against Newcastle) that it was like Caesar entering Rome after victory. I came, I saw, I conquered. It was fantastic.
‘I mean, for anyone who is a United fan, we could have had a million people in there, without doubt, as there were so many outside, hundreds outside. It’s one of these things. When he was here as a kid, his learning process was very, very quick.’
The former manager compared Ronaldo’s return to ‘Caesar entering Rome after victory’
Ronaldo scored two goals on his second debut for Manchester United against Newcastle
Ferguson also went on to speak about Ronaldo’s performance during the game and people’s perception of him as a player.
He said: ‘A lot of people said he was a diver and there was a little spell of that but, after that, he was attacking defenders and all he needed was a nudge and he would waltz by them.
The former Manchester United boss was in the crowd cheering on the Portugal international and credited Ronaldo’s for creating an electric atmosphere at Old Trafford
Ferguson also praised Ronaldo for his incredible speed after he hit 20.2mph against Newcastle
TROPHIES RONALDO PREVIOUSLY WON AT UNITED
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Champions league: X1
FA Cup: X1
League Cup: X2
Club World Cup: X1
Community Shield: X1
‘He would attack with unbelievable speed. I think the increasing knowledge of his game – I think he was born with a desire.’
Ferguson’s comments about Ronaldo’s speed are well founded as it was confirmed after the game that he ran at an astonishing 20.2mph before scoring his second Manchester United goal.
Such a statistic has established Ronaldo, even at the age of 36, as one of the fastest players in the Premier League – with the likes of Adam Armstrong, Adama Traore and Wilfried Zaha all recording top speeds of 22.15, 22.12 and 21.88 mph this season.
Ferguson – who saw Ronaldo’s potential from an early age and bought him as largely unknown teenager for £12.24m in 2003 – is not surprised by the striker’s success.
Ferguson said: ‘He sacrificed himself to be the best. I remember we were playing Arsenal on the Saturday and it was pouring with rain at Carrington.
Ferguson – who saw Ronaldo’s potential from an early age and bought him as largely unknown player for £12.24m in 2003 – is not surprised by the striker’s success
Ferguson – who worked closely with the striker to develop his skills before handing him his debut against Bolton – recalled how Ronaldo would always ‘sacrifice himself to be the best’
INDIVIDUAL AWARDS RONALDO WON AT UNITED
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FIFA World Player of the Year: X1
European Golden Shoe: X1
PFA Players’ Player of the Year: X2
Premier League Player of the Season: X2
Premier League Golden Boot: X1
‘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.’
Ferguson went on to explain Ronaldo’s decision to leave United for Real Madrid in 2009. He said the transfer – which cost £80m (making him the world’s most expensive player at the time) – was something that Ronaldo had ‘always dreamed’ of.
Speaking of the decision, the former United manager said: ‘Ronaldo 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.
Ferguson went on to explain Ronaldo’s decision to leave United for Real Madrid in 2009
‘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.’