Former Sporting coach Fernando Santos regrets playing Cristiano Ronaldo against Manchester United
Portugal manager, Fernando Santos, has admitted that he regrets playing Cristiano Ronaldo against Manchester United in a friendly encounter during his time as Sporting Lisbon manager. Fernando Santos managed a young Cristiano Ronaldo while Sporting’s manager and it was during that time when the Red Devils played a friendly against the Portuguese club.
Cristiano Ronaldo performed so well in that game that Sir Alex Ferguson personally made sure that his team signed the starlet. It was a move that paid off since the three-time Ballon d’Or winner went on to become a huge success at the Theatre of Dreams.
However, Fernando Santos admitted that if he could travel back in time, he would not have played the Real Madrid and Portugal number 7 against Sir Alex Ferguson’ men.
“I was the coach when Sporting played United. I played Cristiano Ronaldo and later wished I hadn't,” he was quoted saying by the Daily Mail.
Fernando Santos then went on to reawaken the memories as he recalled Ricardo Quaresma’s move to Barcelona two days ahead of the Euro winning Portugal captain. He also added that looking back at that timeline now he could never have predicted that the duo would go on to lift the Euros with Portugal under his tenure.
“A week after [Ricardo] Quaresma left to join Barcelona, then two days later Cristiano Ronaldo was on his way to Manchester.
“Back in those days, I could never have imagined that 13 years on, both of them would be crowned European champions with the national team.”
Both Ricardo Quaresma and Cristiano Ronaldo were predicted to be destined for greatness when they played for Sporting. However, while both Quaresma and Cristiano did go on to win the Euros, the former has had a bleak career when compared to the illustrious career of the latter.
Indeed, after securing a move to Manchester, he went on to win countless trophies while etching his name to the hearts of many fans. He managed to win the Champions League with the Old Trafford club as well acquiring the individual honour of the Ballon d’Or before moving to FIFA acknowledged best club of the 20th century, Real Madrid.
His move to Real Madrid made him the most expensive player in the world back then and he has paid back every penny of that money. With the Galacticos, he won two more Ballon d’Ors and Champions league titles, respectively, as well as breaking Raul’s record of the highest goals scored for the club.
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