Cristiano Ronaldo was born in Portugal, but made in Manchester.
The forward joined Manchester United back in 2003, when the club invested heavily into the upcoming talent, making him the most expensive teenager in the history of the game (at the time).
Sir Alex Ferguson played an instrumental part in bringing Ronaldo to the club, with the player’s agent citing that the manager was one of the only senior figures in Europe that was willing to put him straight into the first-team.
The Portuguese prospect joined an organised set-up at Carrington, a place where so many young talents have flourished in the past. Mike Phelan was a first-team coach at the time, and he has recently been speaking to The Coaching Manual about his time with Ronaldo:
“Ronaldo stood out. He was like a sponge. He wanted more [advice from United’s coaches]. He challenged you for more. We had to try and get Cristiano to be a team player and he got it. In the end, he got it.”– Ronaldo has always been a hard-worker
Integrating the forward into United’s style of play was evidently a factor that was worked on quite heavily, given the player’s tendency to try and take on as many opponents as possible.
His tutoring and development with the Red Devils was no doubt a big learning curve, with Phelan paying credit to such:
“Especially when the success came and after he moved to Real Madrid, there were certain things – when observing games at Madrid – that he definitely picked up at Manchester United. He was translating that further up the ladder of excellence. That’s important and there’s a satisfaction there. I don’t claim to have created Cristiano Ronaldo. A lot of people have influenced him. But the biggest influence has been himself – his drive has been fantastic.”– Phelan believes United set Ronaldo up for further success
Looking back on CR7’s career, he is no doubt one of (if not the) all-time greats. He achieved eight major honours during his time in Manchester, with his name still being sang around Old Trafford to this day.
The player has always paid credit to United for helping him get to the level that he always aspired too, with fans still cherishing the memories he produced during his time with the club.