Sir Alex Ferguson has praised Cristiano Ronaldo’s impact since returning to Manchester United, saying that his second debut at Old Trafford was “like Caesar entering Rome”.
Ronaldo returned to United in the summer transfer window and has gone on to score four goals in four appearances, including two on his first appearance back against Newcastle.
The former Manchester United boss, who brought Ronaldo to United from Sporting Lisbon in 2003, attended the Newcastle game and said he was delighted to see the five-time Ballon d’Or winner back in the United colours.
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“You saw on that Saturday that it was like Caesar entering Rome after victory,” Ferguson told the UTD podcast. “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.”
Ferguson knew Ronaldo had the drive and desire to become one of the greatest players in world football.
He said: “It’s one of these things. When he was here as a kid, his learning process was very, very quick.
“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.
“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 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.’
“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 could accept Ronaldo’s desire to want to test himself at Real Madrid in 2009 to further his development.
“He had a dream of going to Real Madrid,” he said.
“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.”
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