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United will find new Ronaldo from within
Published : 15 Aug 2009 13:48:33
UNITED will unearth a new super hero to replace £80m Cristiano Ronaldo - and the heir is already in the Old Trafford ranks. The Premier League champions play their first competitive match in the post-Ronaldo era against Birmingham City on Sunday. And Reds' boss Sir Alex Ferguson insists United shouldn't get too hung up about the loss of the Portuguese international to Real Madrid. "There are a lot of different challenges when a player leaves. The important thing is not to get too upset when a player leaves you because this club can produce players all the time. We will go on," he says. "It is always hard to replace good players. Cristiano is the best player in the world. There is no doubt about that. "But he was part of a good team. Without question 100 per cent of the time it is about the team. It is the team that wins. Everything you set out to do is about the team. "Of course, an individual can make a difference but you cannot take away the glory of the team's performance last season. It was fantastic and amazing. "Cristiano played a fantastic part in that. We won't forget it but we move on as we always do. He was always a threat. His stats were fantastic. The number of headers on goals. The number of shots with either foot. He was unbelievable. "We will miss Ronaldo. But we have players who can make the same impact. Valencia "We have had to do it time and time again. Some players get older, other maybe need to move on for different reasons, I maybe have to reshape the team to win the things we want to win. There are a lot of reasons for changing." Fergie has brought in Antonio Valencia from Wigan for £16m but has refused to go overboard in the transfer market searching for a Ronaldo replacement. Instead, the United boss intends to tweak the way the three-times-in-a-row champions play to make up for the 24-year-old's departure. "Most of the players expected Cristiano to leave at some point. It was not such a great shock. That is not the problem. The problem is how we progress as a team," he added. "It will be a different shape and a different way to when Cristiano was here. That is something I am looking forward to. I am interested in that kind of progress, to see what a different team can do. The United manager also scans the Old Trafford history books as comfort for how losing a player or not landing a particular transfer target is not the end of the world and often throws up new heroes. "We almost had Ronaldino signed in 2003 and two months later we have signed Ronaldo," he says. "We thought we had Paul Gascoigne (when he moved form Newcastle to Spurs) but didn't get him and we got Paul Ince and Roy Keane. "We had a chance to get David Hirst and then Alan Shearer but didn't get them and instead we got Eric Cantona. It happens that way. "We are always searching to improve ourselves. But definitely, the improvement will come from within this time. "We have a lot of young players who want to do well. We have a very good strong squad. We are where we want to be. I am quite happy with what I have got."