Recall that the legendary coach signed Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting Lisbon in 2003. At that point, the 36-year-old Portuguese football icon was 18-year-old.
Within a short time, Ronaldo became almost indispensable under the tutilage of Ferguson. In 6 years under the legendary coach, Ronaldo won almost all the titles available in English and European club football.
Some of the titles he won under Ferguson include three Premier League titles, FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Champions League, and FIFA Club World Cup. Ronaldo won his first Ballon d’Or under Ferguson.
“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”, Sir Ferguson told UTD Podcast. “He would attack with 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 did not argue! I couldn’t say anything to him. He’s beat me.”
It was Cristiano Ronaldo’s dream to play for Real Madrid
After spending six successful years at Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo decided to leave the Premier League club for Real Madrid in 2009.
He was so good that the Spanish football giants paid a whopping €94 million for his services.
Despite how indispensable he was to the plan of Ferguson then, the Scottish tactician did not stand in his way. He allowed the Portuguese football icon to fulfill his dream of playing for the Spanish giants.
Ronaldo spent 9 years at Real Madrid. During that period, he won 15 major titles with the Spanish La Liga side including four Champions League and two La Liga titles.
He went on to become the club’s all-time highest goalscorer and also won four Ballon d’Or at the club to become one of the greatest footballers of all time.
“I was not against that, six years was great for a boy from Madeira, getting him here just after his 18th birthday,” Ferguson said of Ronaldo’s move to Real Madrid.
“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.”
Sir Alex Ferguson is impressed with the return of Cristiano Ronaldo
After 12 years of playing for Real Madrid and Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo decided to return to Manchester United where he attained fame in the beautiful game.
Sir Alex Ferguson is said to be one of those who convinced him to return to Manchester United when the Portuguese icon decided to leave Juventus.
Since he re-joined the Premier League club in August 2021, Ronaldo has scored four goals in four games.
In reaction to Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford, Ferguson who coached Manchester United for over 27 years, said the return of the Portuguese star has been “fantastic” so far.
“It’s fantastic,” he said. “You saw on that Saturday 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.”