At Man United, Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t know the word for confident in first English interview and then years later interviewed teammate Anderson live for Sky Sports

Cristiano Ronaldo was not always the confident, charismatic footballer we see in interviews today – he didn’t even know the word for confident when he first arrived in England.

No, when Manchester United signed him from Sporting Lisbon for £12.24million in 2003, he was developing his game but quickly grew into the game’s greatest player.

Ferguson moved quickly to sign Ronaldo from Sporting in 2003
Getty Images – Getty

He adjusted to life in the Premier League pretty quickly and got better and better as the 2003/04 season went on.

Ronaldo, now 36, can speak a number of languages, but back then his grasp of English were not as up to speed as his performances on the pitch. He was 18 years old to be fair.

So, in 2004 it fell to Gary Neville to help him through his first interview in English.

Neville had just scored the winner against Leicester in April but it was Ronaldo who won the man-of-the-match prize.

Neville helped Ronaldo through his first English interview and gave him funny tips on what to say

The United legend is seen asking the Sky Sports reporter if he wants the then 18-year-old Ronaldo to speak on camera.

Neville then beckons over his teammate and even gave him a few tips on what to say… like ‘I enjoyed game. I dribble very well’.

The Portuguese forward then answered one question in English before struggling to understand the rest of the questions.

Neville then stepped in and answered for him as the teenager was still getting to grips with the language.

It didn’t take Ronaldo long to become fluent, though, and to become one of the best players in the world.

He went on to become a superstar both domestically and in Europe but he was not afraid to help out his teammates who were struggling with the language, like he did when he first arrived.

Ronaldo interviewed Anderson live on Sky Sports after United had won the title

Years later, Ronaldo conducted a funny interview live on Sky Sports with teammate Anderson after Man United had won the Premier League title in 2009, which was his last in red before joining Real Madrid.

He asked the questions in both Portuguese and English before encouraging the Brazilian midfielder to answer.

After a fairly routine question, Ronaldo decide to troll his teammate when he asked about his performance.

He said to Anderson: “You were a little bit disappointing because you came on and only had one touch of the ball.”

The response was in Portuguese and he then refused to translate the answer… whatever he said it was a pretty funny dressing room moment.

Ronaldo was a popular addition to the dressing room as soon as he arrived and Roy Keane, captain at the time, liked what he saw.

“He had a nice presence about him, and a good attitude,” he wrote in his autobiography, The Second Half.

“What impressed me most was that he’d been given the option of staying in Lisbon for another year, on loan, but he said no; he’d come over to Manchester straightaway. I thought it was a good, brave decision – because he was only seventeen.

“After the first few days, watching him train, my reaction was, ‘This lad is going to be one of the world’s greatest players.’ I didn’t say it publicly, because I’d always be wary of building a player up too early – or knocking him down.

Ronaldo won the Premier League Golden Boot with 31 goals in the 2007/08 season – his penultimate with United before moving to Real Madrid in 2009
Getty Images – Getty

“He looked like a player. You have to look the part, and he did. [Zinedine] Zidane looked like a player – and Ronaldo looked like a player. The shape, the body language – they were there. A bit of arrogance, too. But he’d a nice way about him; he was very likeable. We forget that he was very heavily criticised when he first came on the scene. He was going down too quickly when tackled, his final product wasn’t good enough.

“But – again – he was only seventeen, a kid. I was playing youth football for Rockmount, in Cork, at that age.

“He was amazing. He was immediately one of the hardest working players at United. Most of the players I knew worked hard, but Ronaldo had the talent on top of the work rate.

“He was good-looking and he knew it. He was vain in that sense – at the mirror. He was a big lad, a big unit. I’d think, ‘Good on yeh.’ Looking at some of the other lads in front of the mirror, I’d think, ‘Yeh f***in’ nugget.’

“But Ronaldo had an innocence to him, and a niceness. I don’t think he ever slackened off, or that he was ever more worried about the mirror than his game. I always felt that football was his love.”

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