Jamie Redknapp: Sir Alex told me Ronaldo would be the greatest
12 June 2009 02:24
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I spoke to Liverpool's Jamie Carragher on Thursday. Like the players at Chelsea and Arsenal, Carragher and his Anfield team-mates are celebrating over the dramatic news from Old Trafford.
No more chief tormentor to worry about, at least not in the Barclays Premier League.
Barcelona might have won the European Cup, but Real Madrid have won themselves the best player in the world.
A match made in heaven: Sir Alex Ferguson and Cristiano Ronaldo after United's unforgettable European Cup win in Moscow last year
All eyes will be on Spain come the Champions League draw, but Manchester United's domestic rivals will be wishing their summer away. No Cristiano Ronaldo means a lot more hope back home.
Let's not forget how good this boy is. When I first played against him, I recall a huge, thick-set lad who could shift. He was tall, powerful and quick.
With a £80m-plus transfer kitty to spend this summer, Manchester United will be the envy of all England when the season kicks off in August. Ribery, Tevez (permanently), Valencia and, even, Drogba could be making their way to Old Trafford. Who should Fergie sign? TELL US WHAT YOU THINK
Yes, there were too many tricks and stepovers in the early days, but don't underestimate how those body movements could tie opponents in knots. You could cramp up just watching his feet.
When I came out of the changing room after one game, Sir Alex Ferguson asked after my dad Harry.
At the end of a quick chat I said to him: 'That's some player you've got there. Your No 7 is a bit special.'
He said: 'Jamie, that lad will be the best player in the world, I'm telling you.'
And he wasn't wrong, was he?
Was he the best foreign player we have seen in the Premier League? I'd put himat No 2 behind Thierry Henry, of Arsenal, in my personal choice.
Cristiano needed another couple of years at his peak to accelerate past the French flying machine.
My one to five is Henry, Ronaldo, Gianfranco Zola, Dennis Bergkamp and, finally, Eric Cantona.
I asked to include Patrick Vieira and make it six but I was told I had to keep it to five.
All of the above changed the face of English football and Ronaldo sits inamong the greats. He got bums off seats, though there should be no joyfrom the brainless who booed him.
We should all miss those amazing freekicks; standing to address the ball, legs oiled and poised, the connection, the power, the dip and bend, the goal. It was pure theatre.
United have the money, but need to get a player who can get the crowd on their feet. Who will be their new Ronaldo? Franck Ribery, of Bayern Munich, might grow into it but Ronaldo will take some replacing.