Manchester United confirm Cristiano Ronaldo return
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Piers Morgan has revealed Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo hailed Lionel Messi during a private conversation. However, when talk turned towards who the best player of all time is, the Portugal international delivered a cheeky response. Both forwards are still going strong as they enter the twilight years of their career and no end is currently in sight.
Manchester United confirmed Ronaldo’s return on transfer deadline day.
The Portugal international will be strutting his stuff at Old Trafford again, 12 years after he’d quit for Real Madrid.
And Morgan, writing in his column for the Daily Mail, has now elaborated on a private talk he had with the 36-year-old about Messi.
The new PSG star is Ronaldo’s biggest adversary, with their rivalry captivating the footballing world for over a decade.
And Morgan said: “’Who’s the greatest footballer you’ve ever played against?’ I asked Cristiano Ronaldo.
“It was 1am on the candlelit terrace of his favourite restaurant in Turin, Italy, where he was still playing for Juventus before his recent sensational decision to rejoin Manchester United.
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“We’d dined on a glorious feast of the finest Japanese food and Italian red wine (I drank rather more of that than he did) and chatted about everything from elite sport and politics to serial killers.
“It was time for the big question. ‘Messi,’ he replied, immediately and emphatically.
“’Really?’ I said, surprised that he would name his biggest rival.
“’For sure. He is the best I’ve played against.’
“Then he grinned.
“‘But Piers, you are asking me the wrong question.’
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“‘OK. What’s the right question?’
“‘You should just ask me who is the greatest player…’
“‘I think I know the answer,’ I replied, laughing.
“Ronaldo winked and we clinked glasses. He believes he’s the best to ever play the game.
“And I agree with him.”
Morgan also revealed Ronaldo wasn’t overly bothered by his social media profile, with the United star the most-followed person on the planet on Instagram.
But the forward did admit he relished being ahead of Messi in that regard.
“I’ve never met anyone with a more unshakable confidence in his own abilities than him, and I’m not exactly a shrinking violet myself,” he added.
“It’s one of the reasons I like him so much.
“‘If you don’t think you are the best,’ he explained to me over dinner, ‘if you don’t believe you are No 1 in your job, then you’re not thinking properly.’
“That attitude, which some view as arrogance but I view as self-belief, has propelled him from a poor, humble upbringing in Madeira to become, if Instagram popularity is the most accurate currency of modern fame, the biggest star in the world.
“In fact, it’s not even close.
“Ronaldo has a staggering 337 million followers on the social-media platform, dwarfing the second highest, movie actor Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson with 267 million, and then Ariana Grande (264 million), Kylie Jenner (263 million) and Messi with ‘just’ 260 million.
“He tried to pretend to me that it didn’t matter if he was ‘third or fourth on Instagram’ because it’s not his actual job, so I goaded him into a more truthful answer.
“‘But when you see how far you’re ahead of Messi, what do you feel?’
“‘Good!’ he laughed. ‘I like to be No 1. But for me, the most important thing is to be No 1 at my job, football, and No 1 for my family and kids. The rest is something I can’t control.’”
Ronaldo could make his second debut for United when they lock horns with Newcastle on September 11.
The Portugal international bagged his only hat-trick for the club against the Toon, way back in 2008.
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