After the 2nd leg of the United/RM tie -
“But even though Ferguson was so angry afterward that he refused to speak at the press conference, Rodríguez saw firsthand that he was still willing to share a post-game drink with Mourinho. Said Rodríguez, “He came out of the dressing room with a cup of wine in his hand, and he told me, ‘Tell José that the wine is ready, and tell him to hurry up.’”
Real Madrid 1-1 Manchester United | Ronaldo 30’
“[Manchester United] is a club where I played for six years and I have a very special affection for them. I always want to win but I have respect for the people have given me so much.”
José Mourinho: “Cristiano has nothing to fear because he’s loved there. I’m sure they will show him the love and the respect they have for what Cristiano did. He always shows clearly the respect he has for Man United and for the fans and for everybody there. He never, never regrets the fact that it was the most important period of his career, so I think the empathy is there. He was saying that if he scores a goal against Man U, he won’t celebrate. I agree totally.” […] “I think these kind of feelings are good and nice. He has nothing to fear.”
Cristiano Ronaldo, speaking fondly of his time at Manchester United -
“Yes Manchester was a very good cycle for me. I won everything there. It was a fantastic part of my life there. And maybe it was the time I enjoyed my football the most because I was so young. To be at Manchester United — one of the biggest clubs in the world — at just 18! It was a dream! And to play alongside those players you had only seen before on television — maybe that’s why I feel I enjoyed it there the most.
Ronaldo, who spent six glittering seasons at Old Trafford before leaving in 2009, knows his words could be misconstrued so is quick to emphasis the context.
He added: “I’m not saying I don’t enjoy it here in Madrid — I do. But I’m older now, more mature. I’m not a dreamer any more like I was when I was young. I’m 28 now so I’m not at the beginning any more. I’m middle-aged!”
We both burst into laughter at that … middle-aged! Are you sure? And through the laughter Ronny quickly adds; “It’s true – I am middle aged in football years!”
The fans appreciated him when he was here and since he’s been gone they sing his name. He came here a young boy and left a world-class player. He showed a lot of respect when he left and still does.
Rio Ferdinand, on Cristiano Ronaldo [from Champions Matchday]
We’ve had a few texts, but when you get into a situation like this when you’re coming up against a friend, all the texts and the conversations go to one side and you don’t really speak until you actually get the game over and done with.
Rio Ferdinand, on Cristiano Ronaldo and the upcoming UCL tie [from Champions Matchday]
Emilio Butragueño, representing the club at the UCL draw:
the Manchester United tie - “It will be a thrilling experience for everyone. Manchester United are not only a great team but a great organisation known around the world. We are happy for that, we have a great relationship with them. But we know it’s going to be tough, Sir Alex Ferguson has been there over 25 years and he’s a fantastic manager – he knows how to get the best out of his players and they have top players, but we are Real Madrid and we will try our best.”
“This tie is going to be difficult. The Champions League is the most prestigious club competition in the world. Playing against Manchester United is going to be another factor for our players. They will think “I want to show what I’m made of” [against such lauded opponents]. It’s very important for us to get our injured players back but the first leg is two months away so I hope we will be at our best and I hope we will be on form. It’s unpredictable.”
on Cristiano Ronaldo: “I am sure it will be a special game for him. He’s a great professional. I’m sure he’s going to do his best to help us qualify. It’s going to very, very special for him.”
on Mourinho and Ferguson meeting up: “I know they have a great relationship. We are very happy with him and I hope he’s going to lead the team to the Champions League [title] to make our fans feel proud of the team.”