It’s no secret that Cristiano Ronaldo and Sir Alex Ferguson have a special relationship together from their time at Manchester United.
Ronaldo joined United from Portuguese side Sporting in 2003 and the pair went on to work with one another for six years.
But the pairs relationship continued even after Ronaldo joined Real Madrid for a then-world record fee of £80million, and Ferguson subsequently played a key role in the Portuguese superstar’s return to Old Trafford on deadline day.
And while the pair have shared countless memories together, Ronaldo recently revealed that the most important one of all is set away from the football pitch.
Instead it was the heart-warming time when Ferguson gave Ronaldo time off during the season so that he could see his sick father.
Ronaldo’s father, Jose Dinis Aveiro, tragically passed away in 2005 aged 52 after liver failure.
"Probably he doesn't remember, but I will say it because it's a beautiful story," Ronaldo said in a conversation with Ferguson for Manchester United's Inside View.
"One day, my father was in hospital, and I was so emotional, very low. And I spoke with him and he said: ‘Cristiano, go there for two or three days.’ We had difficult games and I was a key player in that moment.
“He said: ‘It will be tough because we have difficult games, but I understand your situation and I’ll leave you [out] and you can go and see your father.’
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"For me, these are the most important things – apart from winning Champions Leagues, to win the Premier League, to win cups and stuff. So I have to appreciate him, because what he said to me, he always did. I have to appreciate that.”
Meanwhile, Ferguson told how his experiences as a young manager helped him develop those incredible man-management skills.
"I got that from an experience as a young manager," Ferguson said. "I was 33 years old and a young boy came to my office. It was a Tuesday and he said; 'Boss, can I have Friday off'? I said; 'Why do you want Friday off'? He said; 'My mother's died'.
"You're beat. What can you do? I went; 'Oh, of course, son'. From that moment on, if a player came to me and said; 'I want tomorrow off'? then I'd say; 'Yes, can I help you'?
"In the case of Cristiano, I knew his father was ill and I knew he was in hospital. It was important for him to be there.
"The football club didn't matter and some things are bigger than the football club. Family is definitely one of them. Without question. You should never put any club in front of your family."
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