United Defender ‘Needed Oxygen’ After Playing vs Cristiano Ronaldo In 2003

Cristiano Ronaldo - Manchester United reacts during the game.

Action Images / Carl Recine

Manchester United are certainly relishing the acquisition of Bruno Fernandes from Sporting at this moment. Supporters of the Red Devils are eager to see the 25-year-old midfielder back in action after an incredible start to life at Old Trafford.

Of course, Fernandes isn’t the most noteworthy player from Portugal to make a mark with the Mancunian giants.

That distinction remains with Cristiano Ronaldo whose United tenure was nothing short of incredible.

In fact, Ronaldo impressed even before joining the Premier League outfit. Rio Ferdinand reveals how impactful the young Ronaldo was during a pre-season friendly with Sporting.

Speaking as part of a campaign from EA, and and COPA90, Ferdinand states: “We played against Sporting in 2003, we get in at half-time and John O’Shea must’ve needed an oxygen tank next to him. He was in bits and he was sitting there panting. We were telling him to get closer to Ronaldo and he couldn’t even answer us.”

Ferdinand and company then got the first hint of that which they would repeatedly inflict alongside Ronaldo in the years to come. It was evident that they were flabbergasted.

As such, the former United defender then goes on to narrate how the encounter rapidly resulted in Ronaldo being acquired by Sir Alex Ferguson: “To be fair, me, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt were standing there going ‘this kid’s unbelievable, we’ve got to sign him’.

“We got on the coach and we were delayed for about an hour and a half, and then they said they were doing a deal to sign Ronaldo now.”

A relatively paltry £12.24 million was spent well and one that would pay dividend in numerous ways. The rest is undeniable history. That career path has now reached great echelons and even now with Juventus, the illustrious forward still remains hungry for more.