Old Trafford

Next Game

Man Utd v Tottenham

Saturday, 08 August 2015, 12:45

Barclays Prem

Last Game

Man Utd 0 - 2 PSG

Thursday, 30 July 2015, 02:00

Int Champs Cup North America

Ferguson: Ronaldo at his peak

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Cristiano Ronaldo is a better player now than he was during his time at Manchester United.

Last Updated: 13/02/13 at 19:23 Post Comment

Ronaldo, 28, spent six successful years at Old Trafford, during which he scored 117 in 290 appearances, including 42 goals in 2007-08 as United won the Premier League and Champions League.

On Wednesday, four years after leaving Manchester to join Real Madrid for a world record £80m, the Portugal international will line up against his former club, looking to add to his tally of 182 goals in 179 games for the Spanish club.

"Cristiano is a better player than when he left us because of his maturity," said Ferguson. "He is at the peak of his career now.

"He was still a young man when he left and you can see how he has flourished in Madrid. His fitness, speed, goals - and he's never injured. That is unique in the modern game.

"I never thought he'd get the amount of goals he's scored. I knew he'd improve. I knew he was one of the best players in the world. But to score the goals he has is phenomenal."

However, United have their own attacking threats.

The major difference for United in the title race this term has been the arrival of Robin van Persie, who on Sunday took his goals tally for the season to 23 against Everton.

"Robin is now approaching that level," said Ferguson of comparisons with Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Ronaldo. "He has been a breath of fresh air."

Van Persie's strike-partner Wayne Rooney was depicted as a "hooligan" in the Spanish press on Tuesday, with sports daily Marca also describing the England player as "a freckled demon" who is "built like a barrel packed with gunpowder" and on his way to "blow up the Bernabeu".

"He is a mature player now," said Ferguson of Rooney. "He is 27. When players mature little bits of their games change.

"His goalscoring has been very consistent. He used to score in snatches. Now there is a far more consistent nature to his goals.

"He also plays different positions with great enthusiasm. Not every player in the world has these qualities."

Asked about today's unflattering reports in the Spanish press, Ferguson said: "Rooney can't read Spanish so we will be all right."

The United manager admits he's been looking forward to the visit to Madrid since the two sides were paired and said: "I think as soon as the draw was made, there was that anticipation about the tie.

"It's a fantastic challenge for myself and it should be a fantastic match between two teams and clubs who embrace the best parts of football, with great reputations.

"The acid test is this game, I have no doubts about that.

"It is unfortunate that we are meeting as early as this. I wish it had been at Wembley (in the final in May)."

While United have opened up a 12-point gap over rivals Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, Real have endured a turbulent domestic season and languish 16 points behind foes Barcelona.

Claiming the pressure would be on for Jose Mourinho to deliver in this competition, the Scot added: "I think Jose has set his targets firmly on the European Cup, no doubt about that.

"It can be hard for us but there's a bit of pressure for them, too. At this moment in time, we're involved in three (competitions)."

You can only watch the best UEFA Champions League coverage here on Sky Sports. Watch Real Madrid v Manchester United exclusively live on Sky Sports 2HD and Sky Go from 6:00pm on Wednesday 13th February. Click here for more details and watch goals from United's route to the last 16.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

Y

ou can't blame De Gea for wanting to leave, he has enough to do in front of goal as it is as well as taking on the role of Man Utd's version of Derek Acorah in trying to contact and organise a defence that isn't there.

rodger's gusset
Van Gaal downbeat on De Gea

I

f you want to take six points off Arsenal, then that's a great strike force. Can't imagine either of them showing much for the rest of the season though...

foot in mouth
Adebayor & Berbatov: You Have To Admire The Balls

L

ooks like Real get their man, most likely at their own valuation, yet again. Resistance is futile.

paul7702
Van Gaal downbeat on De Gea

Footer 365

Digne agent denies Liverpool talks

Lucas Digne's agent has denied reports he has held talks with Liverpool regarding a move to Anfield for the Paris Saint-Germain left-back.

Mourinho scuppered Reds' Costa move

A new biography has revealed how Jose Mourinho scuppered Liverpool's bid to sign Diego Costa - a year before he arrived in west London.

Ramos 'extends' Real Madrid contract

Manchester United's pursuit of Sergio Ramos is over after the centre-back agreed a new contract extension at Real Madrid.

Mail Box

De Gea Disrespectful? Remember RVP...

We got dozens of mails from people pointing and laughing at Brian D for suggesting David de Gea has acted disrespectfully; we printed some. And there's more...

Getting Tired Of De Gea's Disrespect

One Manchester United fan is growing weary of David de Gea's disrespect. Plus thoughts on Southampton's summer, Balotelli loan, and Depay in the centre. Why?

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company