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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 15 November, 2019

'You could never see him being one of the greatest goal scorers ever, you just couldn’t'

Ryan Giggs on Cristiano Ronaldo’s remarkable rise to become one of football’s all-time greats.

Ryan Giggs played with a young Cristiano Ronaldo at Man United.
Ryan Giggs played with a young Cristiano Ronaldo at Man United.
Image: Alex Livesey

FORMER MAN UNITED winger Ryan Giggs has paid a glowing tribute to Cristiano Ronaldo and the Red Devils’ role in his development into one of the game’s all-time greats.

But Giggs recalls it was not all plain-sailing for the Juventus star in his early days at Old Trafford after becoming the most expensive teenager in English football history when he signed from Sporting Lisbon in 2003.

“You could never see him being one of the greatest goal scorers ever, you just couldn’t,” Giggs told beIN Sports.

“In his first game against Bolton he delighted the crowd and then it was a little bit of a dip really, a little bit of frustration.

“When to pass the ball, when not to, too many dribbles, a bit of diving — it was a tough start for him at United.”

However, it was not long before he became, for many, the most important player in the United squad, and Giggs was well aware of his attributes.

All of a sudden, everything just clicked, and it was a case of just get the ball to Cristiano. Even in a United side with Tevez, Scholes and Rooney he was the one who could make the difference.

“He was the one who would get you out of difficult situations and become a goalscorer.

“He became a match winner and on the biggest stage.

“All the great players produce at vital moments and he’s done that time and time again whether it be for United, Real Madrid or Juventus.”

Giggs believes it is the way Ronaldo has developed his game over the years that has allowed him to carve such a glittering career.

“He has evolved his game from being out wide, beating players and frustrating sometimes centre forwards with all his step overs to someone who is just so effective.

I watched him a couple of years ago at the Champions League final when it was Real Madrid against Juventus and I had not seen him live for a couple of years and he very rarely get involved with the build-up but when it’s in and around the box he comes alive.

“He gets on the ball, his quick feet and every finish he has got — right foot, left foot, headers, tap-ins, penalties, free-kicks and when you can do that on a consistent basis like he does, he has got to be considered one of the greatest ever.”

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