Fergie: Best of Ronaldo to Come

  • 21 September 2007

SIR Alex Ferguson is confident Cristiano Ronaldo will go on to have the best years of his life at Manchester United.

The brilliant winger returned to haunt his old club Sporting Lisbon last night, netting the only goal as United began their latest Champions League quest in the best manner possible.

Ronaldo nodded home Wes Brown's cross just past the hour mark to open his account for a campaign Ferguson feels will see the 22-year-old at least equal last season's 23-goal tally.

After spending seven of his formative years at Sporting, it was a bitter blow for the hosts, whose coach Paulo Bento is an old team-mate of Ronaldo.

But the Sporting fans responded in magnanimous fashion, offering the Madeira-born player a standing ovation when he was substituted four minutes from time, a gesture Ferguson feels is in keeping with Ronaldo's current status.

"It is very rare in modern-day football that anyone gets a reception like that," said the United boss.

"Obviously, Cristiano is a former player - but it is more than that. I think they recognise they have had an incredible young talent here.

"Sporting have helped him through his early development for seven years. Now we are fortunate enough to have him for what we hope will be the best years of his life."

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