The pair went on to form an incredible bond. Ferguson and his coaching staff helped nurture the young Portuguese winger into one of the best players in the world; Ronaldo repaid that faith with consistently incredible performances.
The Sporting Lisbon youth product may have reached sensational heights at Real Madrid, but his spell at United alerted the world to his talent.
Ronaldo once called Ferguson a “father figure” to him during his time in Manchester. The 36-year-old is, of course, now back at Old Trafford, providing fans with more memorable moments.
Ronaldo and Ferguson reunited
Ferguson rarely gives public interviews these days, although he did tell Scandanavian outlet Viaplay earlier this year how “excited” he was when the Portuguese starlet returned to the club in August. The Scot himself played a role in convincing Ronaldo to accept United’s proposal.
He said (quotes via Daily Star): “I speak for all supporters – it’s a great day for Manchester United. A lot of people played their part [in bringing Ronaldo back] and I contributed knowing that, really, Cristiano wanted to come here, and that was important. It worked very well.”
Both Ronaldo and his former United manager were placed together once again as part of a special edition of the club’s official ‘Inside View‘ show.
Ronaldo on how Ferguson helped him to adapt to Man United
When he joined United in the summer of 2003, Cristiano Ronaldo was 18 years of age and playing for a foreign club for the first time. Naturally, it took him time to settle in.
He made 29 appearances in his debut Premier League season, scoring four goals. The campaign ended without a league trophy, but United did win the FA Cup. They demolished Championship side Millwall 4-0 in the final. Ronaldo put in a superb display and scored a headed goal, which would soon become a trademark.
There were issues to contend with, however. The winger received some criticism for apparent diving in some matches. As reported by The Guardian‘s Daniel Taylor at the time, Ferguson spoke to Ronaldo about the importance of cutting this out from his game.
Ronaldo has revealed on ‘Inside View‘ how his former boss played a vital role in his adaptation to a new club containing big stars.
He said: “Everything that he said to me, he did.
“It’s difficult, you understand. Imagine you’re an 18-year-old, you arrive from Sporting and you play with the stars; Giggs, Scholes, Keane, Solskjaer.
“I was a little bit nervous, but he helped me a lot by the communication. He called me sometimes to his office with the translator there, but it doesn’t matter.
“The important thing is to tell me things that help me to grow up like a person, like a player, and since day one, everything that he told me he did. So I appreciate that a lot. I always say that for me, he’s like a father for me in football.”
Ronaldo’s current form for United
A total of 12 years have now passed since Ronaldo left United to join Real Madrid in the summer of 2009.
The four-time Ballon d’Or winner is now back at Old Trafford. He has scored seven goals and provided two assists in 13 Premier League appearances. Those aren’t typical Ronaldo numbers, but the moments he has provided are special.
In United’s 3-2 victory over Arsenal last month, the 36-year-old scored a brace to lift the roof of the club’s famous old ground. On his debut in September, he also netted twice in a 4-1 win over Newcastle.
The Portuguese forward has also played a significant role in United’s progress in the Champions League.
He scored six goals in five group stage appearances. Three of those strikes were in the last minute, directly contributing towards a crucial five of the side’s total 11 points. Ralf Rangnick‘s side would likely be battling in the Europa League now without those goals. Instead, they topped their group.
Ronaldo keeps doing what he does best – scoring goals.
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