Cristiano Ronaldo – the Real Madrid god and former Manchester United favourite – recalls the night he signed for Sir Alex Ferguson’s team and admits he first played down the fact that he could sign for Manchester United being only 17 years old.
There are a bunch of stories on how the Portuguese forward signed for United when there were links with him to join Premier League rivals Arsenal and more. But the man himself recalls the events of the day that he eventually came about the admission that he would play for England’s most successful team.
With Manchester United having flown down to Portugal to take on Sporting Lisbon, the English defenders weren’t aware of who Cristiano Ronaldo was and what he could do on the pitch. He was an unknown entity altogether and they were quickly blown by his quality when on the attack.
And Ronaldo admits he played incredible that night – only hours after brushing away claims that he could sign for them soon.
"My friend says to me, 'Cristiano - if you play well against Manchester United, you can go to play there.' I said, 'Are you kidding me? No, it's too early. I'm 17!’,” he said.
"Then that night, I played unbelievable! I played so good!"
And Rio Ferdinand, one of the defenders who suffered against Ronaldo that night, talks about how he asked Sir Alex Ferguson whether they were signing him.
"I remember speaking to the manager and saying, 'Are we going to get this guy? Who is he? He said, 'Listen, I'm working on it. Don't worry…’,” Ferdinand recalls.
"We were waiting for one and a half hours after the game. Then the manager comes back in and said, "I think I've got him.'"
"Man United and Sporting Lisbon came together for this game, and we went home with their baby. It was a good trip!"
Ronaldo went on to become a driving force in Manchester United’s seasons for the next six years. He won three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, one UEFA Champions League trophy and one FIFA World Cup amongst others cementing his legacy on the club.
He left the Red Devils in 2009 to join Spanish giants Real Madrid for a then-world record fee of £80 million. He’s stayed true to his excitement on the field by becoming one of the best ever players the world has seen – winning two more UEFA Champions League titles and three FIFA Ballon d’Or trophies whilst also becoming the highest goalscorer Real Madrid have had in their history.
(Video courtesy: R9godmagic)
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