Former Manchester United midfielder Eric Djemba-Djemba has revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo ran so quick as a teenager it was "like he had stolen something".
The 32-year-old, who joined the Red Devils at the same time as Ronaldo, described the Portuguese superstar as one of the fastest players he has ever seen at that age.
"In training, with his pace at 17, he was like a car," the Cameroon international explained in an exclusive interview with the Guardian. "He was so fast. I need to kick him to take the ball. He was running like he had stolen something, like a thief."
Djemba-Djemba was brought to Old Trafford from Nantes by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2003 as a promising long-term replacement for talismanic captain Roy Keane.
However, he ended up leaving the Red Devils before Keane after failing to hold down a first-team place with the Premier League giants.
Despite this, Djemba-Djemba – who now plays for Partizan following spells at several clubs, including Aston Villa and Odense – does not regret his one-and-a-half year spell at Old Trafford.
Indeed, when he returns to Cameroon he is still compared to one of Manchester United's most iconic players.
"It was my dream come true – Manchester United," he added. "My hero was Eric Cantona. Everybody called me it until now - when I go back in my country, they [still] call me Cantona."