Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo says he misses Alex Ferguson, describing Manchester United manager as his “father in football”.
The 27-year-old now plays under Jose Mourinho at the Santiago Bernabeu after making a world-record transfer from Old Trafford in 2009 for an estimated 100 million euros.
And despite winning La Liga last season Real, scoring 46 goals in 38 league games, the Portuguese player revealed he remains fond of his former manager, three years after leaving Manchester.
“(Ferguson is) a fantastic person. A human person. He taught me many things,” Ronaldo told The Sun.
“Like I said before, he’s like a father in football. I really miss him and my relationship with him.”
The United manager will be 71 later this year, but Ronaldo believes the fiery Scot is as motivated as ever.
“He is very tough,” he said.
“I think he cannot be like that because, how old is he – 70? It’s not good for his heart.
“He’s still tough, strong, I remember him the first time I saw him he was with the same power.”
Ferguson signed Ronaldo from Sporting Lisbon in 2003, and nurtured his prodigious talent to the point where the forward was awarded the Ballon d’Or after scoring 42 goals in all competitions in the 2007/08 season.
Ronaldo won the English Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League during his time at Old Trafford, as well as the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2009.
He has already scored 12 goals in 11 league appearances so far this season, but Madrid sit eight points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona.