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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Sir Jim Ratcliffe names Manchester United’s greatest ever player

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Football

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Sir Jim Ratcliffe has named Cristiano Ronaldo as the greatest ever Manchester United player and revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson believed the winger to be the best player he had ever coached.

Ratcliffe has taken control of football matters at Old Trafford after completing a deal for a minority stake in the club.

The British billionaire, chairman of petrochemical giants Ineos, was a boyhood Manchester United fan who has thus seen many of their top players.

While namechecking both Bobby Charlton and George Best, the 71-year-old was quick to spotlight Ronaldo, who won his first Ballon d’Or while at the club in 2008, as the best he had seen.

“Probably [Cristiano] Ronaldo, I guess,” Ratcliffe responded when asked who was the club’s greatest player on the Geraint Thomas Cycling Club podcast. “I remember Bobby Charlton a bit, and he was obviously the legend of Manchester United.

“George Best, I suppose, was probably the most naturally gifted player I’ve ever seen play football. But I once asked Alex Ferguson who the best player he had ever coached was, and he said Ronaldo. It was the first time I met [Ferguson], actually, at a League Managers Association dinner.”

Denis Law, Cristiano Ronaldo and Bobby Charlton all won the Ballon d’Or while at Manchester United

(Getty Images)

Ronaldo scored 84 times in 196 Premier League appearances during his first stint at the club to establish himself alongside Lionel Messi as the two leading players of their generation.

He helped Ferguson guide the club to three successive titles and a Champions League crown, and returned to Manchester in 2021 for a less successful spell.

The Portuguese forward’s Ballon d’Or win in 2008 was the first of five in his career, with the great Best the last Manchester United player to be awarded football’s top individual award in 1968, two years after Charlton won the prize.

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