Manchester United hero Rio Ferdinand has insisted that he always knew Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo would become a 'great player'.
As reported by Goal.com, the English veteran, who is currently plying his trade at Premier League strugglers QPR, has, however, insisted that it was hard to imagine Ronaldo scoring as many goals as he has done over the last six of seven years.
The best there is
Ronaldo, of course, is now recognised by many as the standout player in world football, having racked up back-to-back World Player of the Year awards.
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In Madrid, the ex-Red Devil has gone from strength-to-strength, and played a key role in helping Carlo Ancelotti's side secure the Champions League trophy last season.
And Ferdinand has hailed Ronaldo's desire to become a great as one of the main reasons why he has achieved so much success in his career.
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The former United centre-back told Goal: "I think we always knew Ronaldo was going to become a great player from the moment he joined United.
"But the amount of goals he has scored in the last six or seven years, that was hard to imagine at the time.
"Yet we already knew he was going to be a fantastic player, a top player. He had great desire, great work ethic, along with a lot of ability and that was a great combination."
Back on form
After a so called blip, Ronaldo produced the goods in last night's Champions League Round of 16 clash despite his side suffering a surprise defeat on the night at the hands of Schalke.
In fact, despite a brace from the superstar, Ancelotti's side were beaten 4-3 on home soil, but secured an aggregate 5-4 victory to book their place in the quarter-final stage.
Ronaldo and Co. though will no doubt have to up their game in the coming weeks and months if they're going to secure a second major European trophy in succession.
He is the best
Ronaldo really is proof that hard work pays off. At the end of the day, the versatile forward arrived at the Theatre of Dreams a skinny teenager, but left a machine, ready to trample on anyone that stood in his way.
Over the past couple of years, he has certainly been the most consistent player in the world, but will no doubt be hoping to prove his credentials over the coming years.
At 30 years of age, the Madrid man certainly has a few years left in him at the top yet. He's not showing signs of slowing down.
Manchester United fans: Do you think Ronaldo will ever return to your club? Have your say in the comments section below!