When Sir Alex Ferguson was asked to compare the Brazilian Ronaldo with the Portuguese one, the Manchester United manager said Cristiano was a better player than the “fat, old” Ronaldo, who scored a hat-trick for Madrid at Old Trafford in 2003.
Today however, Ferguson apologised to Ronaldo for calling him fat. The World Cup record goalscorer was upset at the time and hit back at the Scot, who he believed should be more respectful.
“Real Madrid shut his mouth for me,” Ronaldo said. “It was a lack of respect. A professional of his age, an English Sir, should not be so disrespectful. It was not classy. I have no words for this gentleman, except that I hope the team he manages always loses.”
But now United’s boss has sought to repair the damage after offending one of modern football’s greatest ever players. I don’t believe Fergie attended the press conference to slag R9 off in any shape or form. Most of us, as fans, may refer to him as “the fat one” when bringing him up in conversation. I know I do.
Speaking to Brazilian website Lancenet, Ferguson said: “It was a misunderstanding. I made a joke with a former athlete who I always admired, without any intention to offend.
“I commented something for the two Ronaldos, Cristiano and the Phenomenon, two extraordinary players, and made a joke to make mention of the Brazilian Ronaldo. Always respected him a lot on and off the field. Anyway, it was a misunderstanding – finished.”
Ferguson also went onto admit United considered signing the player before PSV picking up his signature. They had a few meetings at the Club World Cup in 2000 but they never progressed as first imagined.