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Cristiano Ronaldo

Man Utd news: How Mikael Silvestre reacted to Ronaldo and Rooney signings



Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney arrived at Man Utd in successive summers (Picture: Getty)

Mikael Silvestre insists he was ‘super happy’ when he discovered Manchester United were signing Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney and says the two Red Devils legends were among the best players he played with.

Sir Alex Ferguson signed Ronaldo and Rooney in successive summers in 2003 and 2004 and both players quickly established themselves as fans’ favourites at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo won three Premier League titles and the Champions League with United before joining Real Madrid in 2009, while Rooney spent over a decade at the Theatre of Dreams and became the club’s all-time record goalscorer.

‘When I heard we were signing him [Wayne Rooney], I was super, super happy. It was the same feeling as when we signed Cristiano the year before,’ Silvestre told United’s official website.

‘You know you are getting someone that’s going to stay there for a while and perform, bring what you need to win trophies, which is scoring goals and creating chances.

‘I think we were all really excited to sign one of the best young prospects around.

‘For me, it meant an even harder test every day because I had to face him in training, but I loved that.

Mikael Silvestre won four Premier League titles at Old Trafford (Picture: Getty)

‘I had always felt that it was better to face the likes of Wayne and Cristiano in training – before them it had been Ruud, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Ole, Teddy – because I was a competitor and I always wanted to test myself against the best.

‘Not only was Wayne fast and clever, he was strong too. So was I and physicality, as a defender, is an important part of the game, so I was always looking forward to the challenge of facing him.

‘He was great when he arrived, but he was always developing. He learnt a lot from the others, from Ole, Ruud, Louis, and like Cristiano he was a fast learner.

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‘He needed to bring consistency quickly into his game to be able to retain his place in the starting XI for United and England.

‘He was, like the rest of us, a bad loser, and if you don’t want to lose then you always have to improve. He got that. He was always looking to improve his game.’

Like Ronaldo and Rooney, Silvestre also enjoyed immense success at Manchester United, helping Ferguson’s side win four Premier League titles and the Champions League in 2008.

The former France international rates Rooney and Ronaldo as two of his most talented team-mates.

He added: ‘When I sit down and think about the players I played with during my career, for my clubs and my country, it’s ridiculous.

‘Zidane, Ronaldo, Cristiano, Baggio, Henry, Trezeguet, Blanc, Zanetti, Simeone, Keane, Beckham, Scholes, Giggs, and that’s just a few of them.

‘It’s a joke, but no question at all, when I sit down and think about the best of them, Wayne is among them.’

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Bruno Fernandes

Manchester United news: Bruno Fernandes raves over Cristiano Ronaldo’s Champions League final performance



Bruno Fernandes has heaped praise on Cristiano Ronaldo (Picture: Getty)

Bruno Fernandes has heaped praise on Cristiano Ronaldo and says the Juventus star played a huge part in one of the ‘most important games in the history’ of Manchester United.

The Portuguese playmaker joined United from Sporting Lisbon in January, mirroring the move that Ronaldo made in 2003.

Fernandes has made a fantastic start at Old Trafford and cited Ronaldo’s success at the Theatre of Dreams as part of his decision to join United, when he had offers from elsewhere.

The 25-year-old is an international team-mate of the Juventus forward and Fernandes heaped praised on Ronaldo for his success with the club during his six-year stay at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo scored his 42nd goal of the season against Chelsea in the final (Picture: Getty)

Asked which game in the club’s history that the website should look back on, Fernandes told ‘I think from history I have maybe one game – the Champions League final [2008] when Cristiano [Ronaldo] scores with the header.

‘After this, he misses a penalty, I think it’s the same one right, against Chelsea. This one. I think it was a great final and for Cristiano it was one of the best games yet. Because he scored an amazing goal with a header. He doesn’t jump, he flies.

‘After this, he missed the penalty but at the end United won the Champions League and at the end we see him crying on the ground because he won the Champions League. It was one of the most important games in the history of Manchester United.’

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Fernandes has made a fast start to life at the club, scoring four goals.

The Portuguese playmaker scored his first goal for the club in a 3-0 win against Watford in February and he says he would also like to go over that match again, as it was an important one for him personally.

‘The game I would like to watch would be the game where I scored my first goal, against Watford, because I want to feel – not exactly how I would feel in the game – but I can feel the game,’ said Fernandes.

‘I can feel the atmosphere and everything when I score. I can have the motivation to keep training and keep the focus on the return of the game.’

MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo reminisces over Manchester United’s Champions League final win on Instagram

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Alex Ferguson

Man Utd news: Luis Nani reveals what Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho told him after red card against Real Madrid



Luis Nani was sent off on Sir Alex Ferguson’s final Champions League match as Manchester United boss (Picture: Getty)

Sir Alex Ferguson’s hopes of lifting the Champions League in his final season at the club were effectively ended when Luis Nani received a red card against Real Madrid at Old Trafford.

United were on course to progress to the last-eight when Nani forced an own goal from Sergio Ramos in the second half to give the Red Devils a 2-1 aggregate lead in the second leg at the Theatre of Dreams in 2013.

However, the tie was turned on its head just eight minutes later when Nani was somehow sent off for a high foot on Alvero Arbeloa that left United down to 10-men against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil.

Ferguson was furious at the sending off in the knowledge it was his last chance to win the competition (Picture: Getty)

Substitute Luka Modric scored shortly afterwards and Ronaldo hit a sucker-punch second just three minutes later to put the tie to bed.

It turned out to be Ferguson’s final game in the competition but the Scot bore no grudge against Nani as the Portuguese star revealed both Ferguson and Mourinho told him he should never have been sent off.

‘For sure he knew that was his last season because for a couple of years before there were rumours that Ferguson was in his last year but he kept going,’ Nani told the UTD Podcast.

‘That year was so special because we were doing great in Champions League and in the Premier League and he knew in that game if we beat Real Madrid we would be the champion again. It was a big opportunity.

Mourinho comforted Nani on his way off the pitch (Picture: Getty)

‘Everyone knew that because we were so strong but they found a way to send me off. I was playing so well and making a difference in that game, i remember that.

‘There was no reason to send me off. Even Mourinho and Ferguson they came to me and said: ‘No problem, it’s not your fault’.

‘I apologised to the team even though I knew it wasn’t my fault, there was no intention. I was looking at the ball and doing the [Zinedine] Zidane control but they had to find something to help them [Real Madrid].’

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Mourinho had been heavily linked with replacing Ferguson once the Scot stepped down and the United legend has since confirmed the Portuguese coach was one of the few people in world football that knew of his looming retirement.

Mourinho’s response that night – where he praised United, Ferguson and Nani – was read as the former Chelsea boss putting himself in the frame to move to Old Trafford.

‘Manchester United were playing very well. They were very compact, they were very aggressive, very well organised technically and the match was very difficult for us,’ said Mourinho.

‘I doubt with 11 against 11 we could win the match. I had a feeling that Modric would change the match because he brought to the game some qualities that we did not have on the pitch at the time.

‘I am a bit frustrated because we played so well against Barcelona and today I was waiting for more. I know they (Manchester United) are giants, not just physically but mentally. I know they are fantastic and have a manager capable of organising and motivating people.

‘But I was waiting for us to come here and play in a different way.’

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The United squad were unaware of Ferguson’s intention to step down but there were some signs that night that the Scot was not his usual self.

After Nani’s sending off he made the uncharacteristic decision to gee-up supporters in the south stand by raising his fists on the sidelines and he sent assistant Mike Phelan to the post-match press conference because he was ‘too distraught’ to speak to anyone.

Ferguson’s departure hit the squad hard but Nani says he was particularly affected and wanted to leave the club immediately.

‘When he told me he was leaving I felt myself that I wanted to leave too,’ said Nani.

‘I was there for many years now, it’s a new coach and now it’s time for me to challenge myself in a different team.

‘I had a big injury, I recovered, went to the World Cup and the season I came back I was already in my mind that I had to leave the club.’

MORE: Luis Nani reveals Cristiano Ronaldo ‘openly’ told Manchester United team-mates about Real Madrid move

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Cristiano Ronaldo

When Cristiano Ronaldo ‘openly’ told Manchester United team-mates about Real Madrid move



Luis Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo were close friends at Manchester United (Picture: Getty)

Former Manchester United ace Luis Nani has revealed Cristiano Ronaldo spoke openly about leaving the club before his move to Real Madrid.

The Portuguese superstar spent six years at Old Trafford before a then-world record £80million move to the Bernabeu in 2009.

Ronaldo hit 42 goals in United’s Champions League-winning 2007/08 campaign and speculation was rife that summer that he would make the move to the Spanish capital.

However, Ferguson convinced Ronaldo to stay for a further 12 months but Nani, who lived with Ronaldo at the time alongside team-mate Anderson, said the forward made no secret of his intention to leave the club.

Ronaldo joined Real Madrid for £80m (Picture: Getty Images)

‘We would stay at the end of training to do competitions and they [Anderson & Ronaldo] were my team mates, everyone has best friends or some they feel more comfortable with and they were my support,’ Nani told the UTD Podcast.

‘Some days he [Ronaldo] was telling us openly ‘I’m here six or seven years now, I think it’s enough for me’ he said that a couple of times.

‘But it was always ‘I will see, I will see, I will see’ but we never thought it [Real Madrid move] would happen so fast. After we won the league in the second year he left, he produced a great season so we were still surprised.’

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Ronaldo made no secret of his desire to join Real Madrid (Picture: Getty)

Ronaldo’s success at Old Trafford in part convinced Nani to move to the club and the Juventus ace helped the youngster settle in Manchester by allowing him and fellow new arrival Anderson to live at his house.

The trio quickly became good friends but Nani says it was tiring living with Ronaldo’s competitive nature.

‘You know Cristiano is very competitive and staying in his house for a day means he can challenge you anytime,’ continued Nani.

‘He had a swimming pool, tennis court, ping pong table. Every time there was a discussion about who was right or who was better, the only time we were not playing was the night time. We were sitting on the sofa talking and Cristiano disappears [to bed] but we learn that because me and Anderson in the morning we were always tired but Cristiano was already up two hours earlier. It was fantastic moments and great memories we had.’

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