While Roy Keane seems to be aiming criticism at almost everyone in his follow-up autobiography, the Manchester United legend has nothing but praise for former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.
Then aged 18, Ronaldo arrived at United from Sporting Lisbon for £12.24 million in the summer of 2003, with the pair featuring alongside one another until Keane’s controversial departure in November 2005, before the now-Real Madrid superstar would realise his full potential.
Nevertheless, Keane insists that he recognised the teenager’s promise from the get-go, writing in his new book, The Second Half: ‘I liked Ronaldo straight away. He had a nice presence about him and a good attitude.
‘After watching him train for a few days I thought: “This lad is going to be one of the best players in the world.”
‘He was seventeen [sic], but he was immediately one of the hardest working players at United.
‘He was good looking and he knew it. Looking at some of the other players in front of the mirror I would think: “You ******* nugget.”
‘But Ronaldo had innocence to him and a niceness.’
Keane also went on to reveal how Ronaldo earned his move to Old Trafford, joking that it might not have been possible without a rattled pre-season performance from John O’Shea when up against the Portuguese winger.
‘We were playing Sporting Lisbon to celebrate the opening of their stadium. I saw how good Ronaldo was that day,’ he wrote.
‘He was up against John O’Shea. Sheasy ended up seeing the doctor at half time because he was actually having dizzy spells.
‘The club concluded negotiations after the game and we always joked with Sheasy he had actually sealed the deal by playing like a ******* clown.
‘In fairness to him, he was jet-lagged [from America] like the rest of us.’
Ronaldo would go on to score 117 goals in 290 appearances for United over the next six seasons, winning two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, two League Cups and the Champions League and Club World Cup in 2008, before a then-World Cup record £80 million move to Real in June 2009.