Cristiano Ronaldo paid tribute to Sir Alex Ferguson after his match winning display for Real Madrid in the European Super Cup, exactly 11 years to the day that the imperious Portuguese signed for Manchester United.
A fine performance
Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid triumphed 2-0 over Sevilla in Cardiff, ensuring the club won a third trophy of the year after their successes in both the Copa del Rey and Champions League last season.
Ferguson was in attendance in the Welsh capital to watch proceedings and was appointed as the one person panel to decide on the man-of-the-match. It was, understandably, a straightforward decision for the Manchester United icon.
Ronaldo and Ferguson had earlier been seen to embrace after the player descended the stadium steps once he had received his winner’s medal, and the two were later reunited in front of the assembled media.
It was then down to Ferguson to present his former Old Trafford charge with another award, this time the individual one for his starring display, and Ronaldo took this as an opportunity to thank the illustrious Scot for his guidance.
“I am happy because I scored these two goals and I want to thank Sir Alex for handing me the man of the match trophy,” Ronaldo said.
“He helped me a lot when I was just 18 in Manchester and I want to say I respect him and thank him so much for everything he did in my career.”
Watch: Cristiano Ronaldo praise for Sir Alex Ferguson
It was somewhat fitting that Ronaldo and Ferguson were reunited in such a way on the anniversary of the former’s official arrival in Manchester, with the then teenager having been unveiled at Old Trafford on August 12, 2003.
Ronaldo, of course, went on to achieve great success as a Manchester United player, yet it is still success unsurpassed despite his unfathomable individual performances during his time spent in Madrid.
In five years at the Santiago Bernabeu, Ronaldo has won the Champions League, three domestic cups and a solitary league title. An impressive haul indeed, but one still shy of what he achieved with Manchester United.
Six seasons in Manchester bought Ronaldo three Premier League title victories, the Champions League, an FA Cup success, two League Cups and a FIFA Club World Cup win. And, of course, his maiden Ballon d’Or.
But with this Real Madrid side, the most expensive ever assembled, Ronaldo could, and perhaps even should, clean up across all competitions this season. That would be some performance, but one Ronaldo and his team appear capable of.