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Former Manchester United player reveals moment he predicted Cristiano Ronaldo rise to greatness – Manchester Evening News

Former Manchester United defender Mikael Silvestre has revealed he predicted early on that Cristiano Ronaldo would go on to become one of the world’s best players.

The two played together during their time at Old Trafford, with Silvestre spending five years alongside Ronaldo before leaving for Arsenal in 2008.

During that time, he witnessed Ronaldo’s emergence as one of the world’s top stars, having delivered on his early promise after arriving from Sporting Lisbon in 2003.

Back then, though, Silvestre admits he couldn’t have foreseen the transformation the skinny 18-year-old would make, but it didn’t take too long for things to change.

Ronaldo would, of course, go on to help United to seven trophies during his first spell with the club, including three Premier League titles and the Champions League.

It was during his time at United that he would win his first Ballon d’Or, before going on to add four more as he earmarked himself as the greatest players of all time.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is back under pressure as Manchester United manager. The Reds’ victory at Tottenham was soon forgotten as they fell to a dire 2-0 defeat in the Manchester derby, and saw the vultures circling around the Norwegian once again.

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“At first, no – I didn’t know he would become as good as he has,” Silvestre told FourFourTwo.

“It was during the course of his third season that we knew. I told him he would win the Ballon d’Or if he carried on like this, because he was getting better and better and providing for the team and being more lethal in front of goal.

“The technical attributes were there but also the mentality. The hard work. He worked harder than his teammates and harder than anyone else.

“On and off the field, he started showing the character we see now. That came out once his English improved, he started to become a leader.”

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