Champions League

Ferguson says Ronaldo at his peak

Sir Alex Ferguson says Cristiano Ronaldo has improved since leaving Manchester United.
Share This Story

   
 

Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted Cristiano Ronaldo is a better player now than when he left Manchester United.

Four years after United pocketed a world-record £80million from Real Madrid for the Portugal superstar, they find Ronaldo standing between them and Champions League progress.

The Red Devils have every right to be fearful. After all, Ronaldo contributed an incredible 42 goals to United's Champions League-winning campaign in 2008.

And he has improved at Real.

"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."

BEST OF THE BUNCH

Find out which stars you should keep an eye on during the knockout stages.

Yet Ferguson still feels his squad is good enough not only to cope, but challenge for the trophy.

Two seasons ago, in their third Champions League final in four years, United were comprehensively swept aside by Barcelona.

Many of the faces remain - only Edwin van der Sar and Fabio of the team that started that 3-1 defeat have left Old Trafford.

But new blood has been injected in the form of David de Gea, Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck and Ashley Young.

Most importantly of all, Robin van Persie has arrived to give United the additional firepower required to compete at the highest level.

On Wednesday night against Madrid, Ferguson will find out if they are the real deal.

"Our team is capable of winning the Champions League," said Ferguson.

SWEET SIXTEEN?

Check the best images from the Champions League's knockout stage.

"There is a great spirit about them. People keep saying we're not as good as past United teams but then sometimes we get foggy impressions about the past. I do so myself at times.

"But the reality is this team doesn't know when it is beaten, which is a great quality. I have no doubt in my mind the acid test is [tonight].

"It's unfortunate we're meeting this early. I wish it had been at Wembley.

"But we can't think of failing. We have to get through if we are to win this trophy."

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

SOCCER Videos

Butragueño: Real Madrid must be prepared for Bayern Munich Posted: Apr 12, 2014
Real Madrid legend, Emilio Butraguño, knows that his former club, who have reach...

Guardiola: Bayern Munich will be facing the best team in the world Posted: Apr 12, 2014
Pep Guardiola knows what to expect when Bayern Munich face Real Madrid in the se...

Champions League semi-final draw Posted: Apr 11, 2014
Don't miss all the action from Friday's Champions League semi-final draw.

Atletico Madrid v Barcelona UEFA Champions League Highlights 04/09/14 Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Relive all of Wednesday’s action as Barcelona visited Atletico Madrid in the sec...

Bayern Munich v Manchester United UEFA Champions League Highlights 04/09/14 Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Relive all of Wednesday’s action as Manchester United visited Bayern Munich in t...