Manchester United confirm Cristiano Ronaldo return
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For the first time in 12 years, Cristiano Ronaldo belongs to Manchester United again. Initially, on Friday, it looked as though the Portugal international would do the unthinkable and sign for Manchester City instead. But then Sir Alex Ferguson picked up the phone…
When Ronaldo joined Manchester United, he took a gamble.
He opted to leave his comfort zone at Sporting Lisbon and chance his arm, with Ferguson bringing him in as a replacement for David Beckham.
It took Ronaldo some time to adjust, initially. Accused of being too much of a show pony, Ruud van Nistelrooy wasn’t his biggest fan.
One day, in training, the pair nearly came to blows.
“It didn’t happen instantly but he was unbelievably skilful and he was there to entertain the crowd,” Rio Ferdinand said earlier this year. “He loved doing skills.
“He used to get snapped in training but I remember one time, I think it was a good moment for him but he didn’t take it too well.
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“Ruud [Van Nistelrooy] was the man at United at the time. He was the man who scored all the goals.
“Ronaldo had the ball wide and was doing tricks and Ruud was making the run in the box, Ronaldo didn’t pass and Ruud went crazy, screaming. ‘He should be in the circus, he shouldn’t be on the pitch,’ Ruud said, and walked in, off the training pitch, and Ronaldo got upset and angry – ‘Why is he talking to me like that?’
“He was 18 or 19 at the time. Some kids would’ve gone under and lost confidence.
“Some would’ve kept doing the same but Ronaldo knew that Ruud might be right and then it became all about numbers, about statistics, goals. What is going to make him the best player in the world?
“We used to say to him, take the mick out of him and say, ‘You are not the real No. 7 at the club, you’ve got George Best and Beckham’ and you could see him thinking, ‘How can I derail them?’”
After that incident, Ferguson then make one of the biggest decisions of his reign.
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Van Nistelrooy was sold to Real Madrid and the Scot placed his faith in Ronaldo, instead, with the Portugal international then delivering the goods.
And, from that moment on, Ferguson was protective.
So protective, in fact, that he once told Sky Sports anchorman Geoff Sheeves to ‘f*** off’ after he took issues with questions being asked about Ronaldo.
Speaking in 2020, he told The Times: “The biggest [row] was over Cristiano Ronaldo going over for a penalty against Middlesbrough and we had a huge falling out which threatened to get very out of hand in the tunnel.
“Fergie came after me physically, never got there. People jumped in.”
In response to the expletives hurled at him by Ferguson, Shreeves then replied: “Don’t talk to me like that. If you want to behave civilly, fine.”
And he also added: “Fergie was in the right and I was in the wrong and I addressed that with him.
“We sorted it out very amicably, very quickly and it was never mentioned again.”
Now, Ferguson and Ronaldo’s bond is still strong.
The Portugal international has even reference his old mentor when elaborating on his sensational return, saying ‘this one’s for you’.
“I can’t even start to explain my feelings right now, as I see my return to Old Trafford announced worldwide,” he said.
“It’s like a dream come true, after all the times that I went back to play against Man. United, and even as an opponent, to have always felt such love and respect from the supporters in the stands.
“This is absolutely 100 per cent the stuff that dreams are made of!
“My first domestic League, my first Cup, my first call to the Portuguese National team, my first Champions League, my first Golden Boot and my first Ballon d’Or, they were all born from this special connection between me and the Red Devils.
“History has been written in the past and history will be written once again! You have my word!”
“I’m right here! I’m back where I belong! Let’s make it happen once again!
“PS – Sir Alex, this one is for you…”
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