Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed his fifth Ballon d’Or award this week but the Real Madrid superstar still acknowledged the major role Manchester United played in helping him become the superstar of today.
The Portuguese spent six years at Old Trafford, winning three Premier League titles and a Champions League before becoming the world’s most expensive player by moving to the Bernabeu for £80m.
Ronaldo has pinpointed the experience of mixing with the likes of Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane as the moment his belief skyrocketed.
“Since I was 14, 15 or 16 years old I knew that I was different from other kids,” Ronaldo admitted. “I did different things.
“I realized that I was good at Manchester United, when I played with players like Giggs, Keane or Ferdinand. I had talent.
“The English mentality is different and those people helped me a lot to be what I am now. I have to thank my colleagues in Manchester. ”
Ronaldo has endured a 10-year battle with Lionel Messi to claim the throne as the game’s No.1 player and the 32-year-old hopes their rivalry continues for years to come.
“I hope to play at this level for a few more years, I hope the battle with Messi continues, things happen for a reason,” he said.
“I feel good this season and we’ll see what we win at the end of the year.
“I’m happy at Madrid, I want to stay there, I would like to finish my career at Madrid if possible.”