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Cristiano Ronaldo hails to the ‘Fantastic Lad’ Wayne Rooney. Also discusses the infamous wink moment in 2006 World Cup.

The Juventus FC’s star signing Cristiano Ronaldo recalled his earlier time with Englishman Wayne Rooney. The Portuguese footballer is hopeful to play alongside his former teammate someday again. 

Published By: Nirbhay Singh

Cristiano Ronaldo used to line up alongside Wayne Rooney under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson in the golden era of Manchester United. The team thrived well with the attacking duo who guaranteed goals and entertainment until their last day in the red club.

In his interview with Goalhanger, Cristiano Ronaldo recalled his past experiences and talked in detail how he remembers his former teammate Wayne Rooney.

Cristiano Ronaldo remembers Wayne Rooney as a ‘fantastic lad’. He further claims that he misses playing alongside England’s all-time top scorer.

“Well, great memories! He’s a fantastic lad as you say in England, great boy. I remember he came in next year. He was a kid of England, everyone loved him. He’s a fantastic boy and a fantastic player. I always call him between me and my mates, my people. I remember when he lost the ball…He was so powerful, strong guy, shot unbelievably, scored many goals. Well, I can say he’s fantastic. I miss him; to play with him. The future, nobody knows, maybe we’ll play one day together again.”   

Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney once were the most fearsome duo in Europe. Cristiano Ronaldo believes that one of the major reason for their success and partnership was their coach, Sir Alex Ferguson.

“We really had a fantastic coch, Sir Alex Ferguson. He knew it [potential of the players]. So, Rooney was the striker, with Tevez and in the first year Saha. He knew the potential of the player. I remeber we played more together in the second year, in the front. We had a fantastic season. We scored many-many goals. After the next year Tevez came to join us. It was unbelievable. I have great memories. We won all trophies: League, FA Cup, Carling Cup, Champions League…So fantastic memories. I was so happy there.”

Cristiano Ronaldo claims that the best season he had alongside his former teammate was when he won the Champions League in Luznikhi Stadium against bitter arch-rivals, Chelsea.

“I remember in that year we won three titles. So it was probably the best season. It was the year where we scored more goals. Me, him [Rooney], and Tevez. So probably the best season I had there was 2007/8.”

Cristiano Ronaldo is reputed for being very choosy when it comes to picking up friends on the pitch and carrying that relationship off the field as well. He claims that he wasn’t best of the friends with Wayne Rooney either.

“Well, in the begining it was tough for me because I didn’t speak English. So it was difficult to have a conversation because I didn’t understand what he said  to me sometimes, because he’s from Liverpool and their accent is very-very tough. But during the years we created a great relationship more on the pitch because you know, English people are special people. They bring thier circle, they are always together. The guys who come in from another country, it’s different.It is the same in Madrid too. But inside the pitch we are like a team. I had a good relationship with him, he always helped me. We lived kinda together, I remember, we lived at Alderley Edge. It was nice. He was a fantastic boy and he helped me a lot.”

In 2006 FIFA World Cup Cristiano Ronaldo had pressurized the referee to send off Wayne Rooney. After the referee flashed the bright red card the Portuguese footballer and 5-time Ballon d’Or winner winked at his Manchester United teammate. The act went viral and was a topic of discussion amongst all the football community ever since. Cristiano Ronaldo admitted that he was then afraid of the English fans.

“They create a big drama which doesn’t exist. When I arrived, I was kind of afraid. Not because of Rooney but  because of the England supporters. As I said before, I don’t regret what I did. Becuause, you know, when you play for your country you defend your colors. So, I didn’t do anything bad. They make a huge story that I winked but it is not because of the circumstances with Wayne Rooney at the moment, it was another situation. It is in the past. I had a chat with him after I arrived in Manchester. We are still friends and we speak about that and we have a normal conversation. He understood my point of view at that moment. It was a difficult time for me because I thought when I will arrive at Manchester people are gonna boo me in all the stadiums. But it was fine. Sir Alex Ferguson helped me a lot. He said ‘nothing gonna happen with you I know the English people they are polite, they speak in the begining but later they gonna forget’ and it was good. I enjoyed a lot.”

Cristiano Ronaldo further revealed that Wayne Rooney was also helpful after the incident.

“Of course he helped me in all circumstances. He said ‘Cristiano it’s past, the accident is gone, let’s speak about the present, let’s win trophies, let’s play together like we did before’. So we have a fantastic relationship.” 

Cristiano further showered praise over his former teammate and mentioned his strengths as a player.

“Power. I think his mental power is great. He never gives up. As an English player, they never give up. Always 90 minutes night, always [working] harder. This is why I love English football and English people because they never give up until 92, 93 minute. They never stop. For me the power of Wayne Rooney’s mentality and his strength. He never stops. He always runs and helps the team. He’s a fantastic team player. He scores goals which is the most difficult point for the strikers. Rooney scores important goals and he is a team player. For me he’s a fantastic player.” 

Wayne Rooney who currently plays in the Major Soccer League of America recently became England’s all-time top goalscorer with 52 goals. He surpassed the legend Sir Bobby Charlton before finally hanging his boots from the national duty. Rooney’s Portuguese friend Cristiano expressed his happiness over the achievement of his former teammate.

“I’m very glad for what he’s achieved. I had this situation like one year ago I beat the record of Portugal. So, I know how Rooney feels to be the top goalscorer of national team. It’s unbelievable feeling and I have to say congratulations to him. I know how hard it is to be the number one of the England national team. So it is great. I feel very happy for him.”

Cristiano Ronaldo lastly mentioned the highlight of his career with Wayne Rooney. He sees the UEFA Champions League won in 2007/8 as the most decorated moment of his life.

“I have to say when we won the Champions League. I think it’s the highest point in Manchester United career when I was there. We had so good partnership on the pitch, with Tevez too. I think it’s that moment for me.” 

The interview was posted by Goalhanger on 3rd November 2018 though it was recorded when Cristiano Ronaldo was still playing for Real Madrid. The full interview can be accessed here: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4VAIGAC7Fw&t=131s>.

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