Ferdinand recalls moment Cristiano Ronaldo dazzled Man Utd chiefs and players

Rio Ferdinand has recalled how Cristiano Ronaldo dazzled Manchester United players and staff to pave the way for a move to Old Trafford.

Ronaldo was playing for Sporting Lisbon against the Red Devils in a pre-season friendly in 2003 in the opening of the Portuguese outfit's new stadium.

Sporting ran out 3-1 winners, but Ronaldo's individual display saw United splash out £12million to bring him to the Premier League.

Former United defender Ferdinand told BT Sport: “He started there. We arrived there coming back from America on tour.

"This was the last leg so everyone was knackered, jet lagged etc. We got asked to play in it late.

“We obviously got there, they opened the stadium and we came off that pitch.

"Everyone who didn’t know about Cristiano Ronaldo before we got there, when we left they definitely did.

“When we got to the stadium in the pre-match warm-up, it kind of got around. People were saying, ‘that kid there, he’s meant to be a superstar’.

“Baring in mind we’d missed out on signing Ronaldinho that summer as well, so we were still on the search for that superstar to come.

“We didn’t see it in the form of a young teenager, but by the time the game finished, all the players were sitting and saying, ‘when are we going to get him’?

“We were sat on the coach after, delayed an hour, wanted to get home after a big tour and the manager and the chief executive David Gill at the time were doing a deal to try and sign him.

“Got in straight away, got him, great recruitment.”

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