Managerial legend Sir Alex Ferguson has dubbed Cristiano Ronaldo the “special player” of his generation, after helping Real Madrid to win the Champions League and then inspiring Portugal to Euro 2016 glory this summer.
The former Manchester United manager signed Ronaldo back in 2003 from Sporting Lisbon. The pair went on to win three Premier League titles during their six years working together at Old Trafford, before the Portuguese winger signed for Madrid for a then-world record fee of £80m.
Ferguson – who ended his 27-year spell as Red Devils’ manager in 2013 – was in the crowd at the Stade de France and could only watch as Ronaldo was taken off on a stretcher in the 25th minute following Dimitri Payet’s robust challenge. However, he was able to pick out Ronaldo after the match and congratulated the Portuguese captain for leading his country to their first major international success with their extra-time victory over tournament hosts France.
And Ferguson has been quick to praise the Madrid man in the media following his European triumphs for both club and country.
Speaking to German newspaper Bild, Ferguson said: “He has an incredible desire for football, Cristiano is looking forward to each workout.
“He always wants to be better, to win. He especially loves these big games.
“During my time at Manchester United, Cristiano was the player who developed the most, through much hard work. He constantly worked on his shooting technique, with the right, left, his heading ability (and) his bounce.”
The 74-year-old didn’t stop their in his praise for his former player though – as he went on record to say that he believes Ronaldo to be better than Barcelona rival Lionel Messi at this moment in time.
Ferguson added: “His performance improvement is incredible and what is remarkable (is) today’s football is so athletic, so fast. Usually top players can only play for about five or six years at the highest level, then it’s over.
“Cristiano has been doing this for over 10 years. That makes him so exceptional.
“Every generation has its special footballer. Cristiano is currently.”