Cristiano Ronaldo reveals one of the reasons why he joined Man United

Ronaldo became a sporting superstar at United
Ronaldo became a sporting superstar at United

Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed that Alex Ferguson enticed him to join Manchester United by offering him the chance to wear the club’s celebrated No.7 shirt in their first meeting.

A teenage Ronaldo was lured to Manchester from Sporting Lisbon in 2003 with Ferguson hailing him as ‘one of the best young players I have ever seen’ and now the Portuguese superstar has revealed one of the tactics used by the Scot to encourage him to make the move to England.

“I remember when I left Lisbon for England, Alex Ferguson said to me, ‘Listen, I want you to take the No 7 shirt’,” stated Ronaldo, who filled the jersey that had just been vacated by David Beckham after his move to Real Madrid.

“I was surprised because I knew the guys who wore that shirt. I accepted the challenge, it was great.

"It was the beginning of my success in football. It was probably one of the most beautiful moments in my career so far.”

George Best, Bryan Robson and Eric Cantona are among the icons who have worn the United No.7 shirt, with Ronaldo doing justice to the jersey until he moved to Real Madrid for a world record £80m in 2009.

“Alex Ferguson was a father for me in football,” added Ronaldo. “I learned many things, not just from the coach but the players.

“I improved not just my skills but my body too. In the five years that I was (at United) I learned the art of football. It was a dream for me.”

Ronaldo has clearly master the art of remaining a firm fans favourite at their former club long after they have moved on and achieved great success elsewhere.

Many players who leave clubs amid acrimony could learn from his example.