Cristiano Ronaldo thanks Roy Keane for making him the player he is 5 years ago

Cristiano Ronaldo thanks Roy Keane for making him the player he is

Cristiano Ronaldo has won his fifth Ballon d'Or.

Ronaldo won the award for his displays during 2017, when he helped Real Madrid to the Spanish title and the Champions League. The Portuguese forward scored 12 goals as Madrid won their 12th European Cup, and was particularly brilliant during the knock-out stages of the competition. Ronaldo only has two La Liga goals in 10 games this season, but has been excellent once again in the Champions League, scoring in every group game.

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The 32-year-old is now level with Lionel Messi on five Ballon d'Or wins.

Upon accepting the trophy in Paris on Thursday, Ronaldo declared that he's now the best footballer in history - better than Pele, Messi, Diego Maradona, Djimi Traore, Luke Chadwick, Johan Cruyff, all of the greats.

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"I don't see anyone better than me," Ronaldo told France Football.

"No player does things that I cannot do myself, but I see things others can't do. There's no more complete player than me. I'm the best player in history — in the good and the bad moments."

Fair enough.

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However, Ronaldo also took time to thank the people who helped him reach the summit of the world's most competitive sport, including his former Manchester United teammates:

  • Ryan Giggs
  • Roy Keane
  • Rio Ferdinand

"Since I was 14, 15 or 16 years old I knew that I was different from other kids," Ronaldo said.

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"I did different things. I realised that I was good at Manchester United, when I played with players like Giggs, Keane or Ferdinand. I had talent. The English mentality is different and those people helped me a lot to be what I am now. I have to thank my colleagues in Manchester."

All of Ronaldo's former United teammates speak extremely highly of him, and Keane's second autobiography contains a really nice passage about him. The former United captain played with Ronaldo for two seasons, and spoke about his initial impressions of the Portuguese forward, who was 18 when he arrived at Old Trafford in August 2003.

"I liked the lad straightaway. He had a nice presence about him, and a good attitude. What impressed me most was that he’d been given the option of staying in Lisbon for another year, on loan, but he said no; he’d come over to Manchester straightaway. I thought it was a good, brave decision... After the first few days, watching him train, my reaction was, ‘This lad is going to be one of the world’s greatest players.’ I didn’t say it publicly, because I’d always be wary of building a player up too early – or knocking him down.

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"He was amazing. He was immediately one of the hardest working players at United. Most of the players I knew worked hard, but Ronaldo had the talent on top of the work rate. He was good-looking and he knew it. He was vain in that sense – at the mirror. He was a big lad, a big unit. I’d think, ‘Good on yeh.’ Looking at some of the other lads in front of the mirror, I’d think, ‘Yeh fuckin’ nugget.’ But Ronaldo had an innocence to him, and a niceness. I don’t think he ever slackened off, or that he was ever more worried about the mirror than his game. I always felt that football was his love."