When the Portuguese joined Manchester United in the summer of 2003, Ruud van Nistelrooy was the Red Devils' main striker at Old Trafford and contributed to the making of a modern superstar.
moved to Old Trafford at the age of 18 to become one of the most fearsome strikers in the Premier League and in the world.
Van Nistelrooy told Rio Ferdinand’s FIVE channel: “
It was clear what we said in the dressing room. We were saying to each other ‘this kid is unbelievably talented but we’ve got to help him to become effective
“As a 17-year-old boy, he joined United and we played against him in Sporting in pre-season and I remember the manager asking a few of our players ‘what do you think of that kid? We need someone who can get one-on-ones with defenders, create new situations, to dribble’. I remember saying ‘unbelievable talent’.
“When he joined, that’s what I saw with him. Of course, at 17 you need two or three years to adapt and then… wow… what happened then, he was unbelievable.”
However, the two players had some controversy in training. The former France international Louis Saha had recently revealed that Van Nilstelroy made Ronaldo cry after he lost his father.
Everything in the press is going on about that particular incident and also I commented on it, I’m happy to do that again because I know that I was wrong in that situation
,” The Dutch frontman, who also briefly worked with Ronaldo at Madrid, added.
“I immediately walked into the dressing room and sat next to him and I apologised for my behaviour when I’d calmed down.
“That frustration is coming from somewhere. Now when you’re 44 you look back on things and you know that when things are going on around you in your private life sometimes it can make you frustrated.
“In that incident it led to a discussion with Cristiano. But, of course, you need to realise and be big enough to acknowledge that.”