Manchester United news: Gary Neville reveals how he wanted Cristiano Ronaldo and Louis Saha to come to Old Trafford
The player turned pundit reveals how he was mesmerised whilst playing against them.
Gary Neville has caught the eye of the footballing world with his honest review of players and teams since turning into a pundit after his retirement. Be it his assessment of players or the managers, we are all always keen on hearing the opinion of the former Manchester United man alongside his former rival and now new found ally Jamie Carragher on Monday Night Football.
Neville, who joined Manchester United as a 16-year-old enjoyed a number of glorious, trophy-laden years under Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed that despite facing a number of high profile opponents, he always wanted just 2 players to be his teammates during his time at the Old Trafford, Cristiano Ronaldo and Louis Saha.
Cristiano Ronaldo makes a lasting impact
The player had his first glimpse of the now Portuguese and Real Madrid superstar during his side’s preseason friendly against Sporting Lisbon and instantly took a liking for the player and has claimed that it was not merely him who was impressed by the player, with a number of other players expressing their delight with regards to the player.
It was not long after that Manchester United grabbed the opportunity to sign the player and the rest, as they say, is history as Ronaldo etched himself in the glorious memoirs of the League with his enchanting performances.
Writing in his column for the Sky Sports, the former defender claimed “After the match [against Sporting] I remember sending a text to my brother, saying 'we need to sign him' and apparently there was a lot of talk about him on the coach after the game. Obviously players should never be involved in signings, but he certainly made everyone sit up and take notice. I'd never heard of him and I'd never seen him before that night, but there was a huge excitement among the players afterwards.”
Louis Saha: A constant thorn
Saha had been a constant source of pain and anguish for Neville during his time at Fulham, giving him nightmares and the player always wished that his club would go on to sign him, a move that the club did pursue and one that did pay rich dividends. While the player did struggle with a number of injuries during his time at the club, he would always be a handful for defenders when fit and added to his side’s attacking firepower during the 5 years he spent at the club.
The former Valencia expressed his views on the Frenchman by saying, “The only other opposition player I've felt like that about was Louis Saha. I remember playing against him as a centre-back when he was at Fulham and he destroyed me three seasons on the bounce. I was devastated when I had to play against him and I thought 'we've got to sign him'.
“He was clearly a different type of player to Cristiano, but we spoke about him in the dressing room in the same way. After that game against Sporting Lisbon, there was a great admiration and there was no doubt the players were all talking about Cristiano."
While in hindsight, it might seem like a statement every pundit in the world would make, especially with both the players enjoying several successful seasons as footballers, Neville, who has shown a penchant for being a sound student of the game was amongst the few who realized their worth very early on.
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