Paul Scholes has explained why he believes Cristiano Ronaldo is head and shoulders above previous Manchester United stars, including the enigmatic figure of Eric Cantona.
Scholes, a former teammate of Ronaldo at Man Utd, has revealed why he thinks the five-time Ballon D’or winner is the greatest legend to grace Old Trafford, even more so than Eric Cantona.
The pair have fulfilled the same roles within Man Utd history, with both being viewed as generational talents in their respective eras, and even shared the same digit on their shirts, the famed number seven.
“Eric was very similar but Cristiano was still on another level from that. Eric did go out and practice but he wasn’t so much a gym person,” Scholes told Premier League Productions.
Ronaldo is viewed as the ultimate professional in world football, a notion that Scholes wholeheartedly agrees with.
“Cristiano did all of his practicing before and after training. He also made sure he was stronger for the Premier League by going into the gym afterwards,” he said.
“I’ve never seen a more professional person.”
While Cantona was a fantastic player in his own right, netting 64 times in 143 games for the Red Devils – according to Scholes – Ronaldo has always been “another level”.
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“He was out there all day long, practicing those free kicks. His speed, he was sprinting up hills, he had weights on his ankles,” he said.
“He was doing everything that the likes of the British players hadn’t seen. That wasn’t it, he was in the gym afterwards, just doing everything to prepare himself.”
Ronaldo’s Man Utd brilliance
The United talisman scored 118 times in his first stint at the club between 2003 and 2009. Indeed, he claimed the first of five Ballon D’or honours in 2008 while playing at Old Trafford.
That prize came a year before his £80million move to Real Madrid. At the time, it was the most expensive transfer in football history.
In addition to his personal accolades, Ronaldo helped the Red Devils to three Premier League titles and a Champions League.
European glory was something that evaded Cantona during his time at the club. He did, however, pick up four Premier League winners’ medals.
Since returning to United, Ronaldo has scored in every game he has played – including Sunday’s dramatic 2-1 win over West Ham – and continues to show why he is widely regarded as one of, if not the best footballer to ever grace the planet.