Alan Shearer has explained why he only ranked Cristiano Ronaldo as the seventh-best European import in Premier League history.
Shearer placed Ronaldo below Roy Keane, Thierry Henry, Eric Cantona, David Silva and Dennis Bergkamp in his list of top ten Premier League players from the continent.
The selection drew surprise from fellow pundit Ian Wright, who had Ronaldo third on his own list, behind only Keane and Henry.
“I think that when you look at Ronaldo we saw a prelude of what was gonna happen in Real Madrid, the last two seasons [at United],” Wright told the Match of the Day podcast.
“Is he one of the only foreign players playing in England to win the Ballon d’Or?
“I think that those last two seasons, for me, is why Ronaldo has got to be way up this list.”
Shearer said it was simply a case of longevity.
“I think so,” he said when asked as such by Gary Lineker. “That was all.
“He was on his way to superstardom at Manchester United. They signed him when they played that pre-season friendly against Sporting and then Alex said that we have to go and get him. They did for about £12m or something like that.
“And also, he wasn’t afraid to go and have that No 7 shirt at Man United, when you consider the players that have worn that shirt beforehand: Best, Cantona, Beckham, Robson.
“You can’t get away that everyone on this list is a magnificent player. But it’s just because, what was it, six years I think he was at Manchester United? He was an incredible player.
“In terms of appearances and goals, was it 84 in 196? But when you compare that to his numbers over the last few years it’s just phenomenal.”
Lineker added: “It’s that one again, isn’t it? If you picked out…if this was just the best players rather than the influence they’ve had on the Premier League, that Ronaldo’s the best player that’s ever played in the Premier League.”
To which Shearer simply replied: “Number one.”
Legend reveals one of the big reasons why Ronaldo left Man Utd
Gary Neville says Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Manchester United to Real Madrid was partly fuelled by the miserable British weather.
Manchester is notorious for its rainy climate and a direct contrast to sunny Spain where Ronaldo headed in 2009 when joining Madrid for a then world-record £80million.
Old Trafford legend Neville said Ronaldo had dropped hints about making the switch to the Bernabeu after United’s Champions League win over Chelsea in 2008.
And with the Portuguese star’s heart driving him back towards the continent, Neville admits he didn’t really try and change Ronaldo’s mind. Read more…