Cristiano Ronaldo is the “special footballer” of his generation, according to former boss Alex Ferguson.
The ex-Manchester United manager was on hand to witness Ronaldo finally convert his phenomenal club success into international honours in Paris on Sunday, as the injured Portugal captain rallied his country from the sidelines to Euro 2016 glory.
And the 74-year-old insists that Ronaldo’s work rate and hunger – part of the reason he first brought the attacker to Old Trafford as an 18-year-old in 2003 – is what sets him apart from his contemporaries.
“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,” Ferguson told Bild.
“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, his bounce.
“His performance improvement is incredible. And what is remarkable, 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.”