Ruud van Nistelrooy thought Cristiano Ronaldo should ‘keep dreaming’ when the then-young winger from Sporting Lisbon told him he wanted to be the best player in the world at Manchester United.
The relationship between the pair wasn’t so rossy at Old Trafford, and United’s all-time highest goalscorer confirmed it.
“I think Ruud was used to David Beckham, getting the ball down, Giggs getting the ball down putting crosses into the box getting on the end of them.
“And then Cristiano came in and started chopping back, chopping back and he got frustrated with it”; Rooney told Sky Sports in February.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo broke Nisterlrooy’s Champions League record in an emphatic fashion with a stunning overhead kick against Juventus on Tuesday.
Ronaldo’s acrobatic strike meant he scored in 10 European games in a row, surpassing Van Nistelrooy’s nine.
And the Dutchman has nothing but praise for his former teammate.
“He came as a young lad but he knew what he wanted to become, and he also said it: ‘I want to be the best player in the world’,” Van Nistelrooy told Goal.
“At the beginning you think: ‘OK, he’s a young lad – keep dreaming’. But the work-rate and talent he’s combining has made him achieve his goals, and he’s still going strong. It’s fantastic.”
Van Nistelrooy scored 150 goals in 219 appearances at Old Trafford.