Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has labelled Cristiano Ronaldo as the world's best player.
The 24-year-old Portugal international become the world's most expensive footballer this summer after joining Real Madrid for £80million.
The former Sporting ace enjoyed a successful six-year spell at Old Trafford and Ferguson believes they were fortunate to have him that long.
Ferguson knew the winger always wanted to play for Real and once a suitable offer was made he was not going to stand in his way.
"Ronaldo was a fantastic footballer. I think he's the best player in the world.
"We wish him well. He gave us six great yeas.
"It's difficult to hold onto players from other countries for that length of time. I think we were quite fortunate that way.
"We never expected him to stay more than six years I must say. The move was something he wanted. We felt we should grant him that."
Although United are down a winger following Ronaldo's exit, Ferguson is hoping new signing Antonio Valencia can help fill the void.
The 23-year-old Ecuadorian was snapped up from Wigan and the United boss believes he has the potential to become a successful capture.
"We hope we can find the answer first of all on Ronaldo because 26 goals from a winger in modern day football is exceptional," he continued.
"We've signed the boy Valencia, who has potential. Hopefully we can develop that potential.
"He will start tomorrow (against Boca Juniors). He didn't join us in the Far East. Fitness wise he was behind the rest of the squad.
"He remained at Carrington to do his endurance and speed work before he joined up with us."