HARRY MAGUIRE hailed Cristiano Ronaldo as the ‘greatest player to have played the game’.
Harry Maguire has hailed Cristiano Ronaldo as the greatest of all timeCredit: Getty
Maguire reckons Ronnie will have a huge impact on the likes of Marcus RashfordCredit: Getty
And England centre-back Maguire reckons United new-boy Jadon Sancho, teenager Mason Greenwood and fellow forward Marcus Rashford will only improve by learning from a true great.
Maguire, 28, said: “It’s amazing to have Cristiano join us and come back home. His career speaks for itself.
“For me, he’s the greatest player to have played the game.
“He’s a great example for our players, the attackers especially, to look up to, to learn from. On and off the field.
“We’re focused on England at the moment but these are exciting times and we’re looking forward to meeting up with him and I’m sure the attacking boys are as well.
“It has happened so quickly and has probably not sunk in properly but it is amazing for the club in general — and the atmosphere he will create around the place.
“He can bring great experience and a good mentality to the squad. I think it is big for the fans but, more importantly, it will improve us on the pitch.
“He is an exceptional player as you saw last season and in the Euros.”
Ronaldo, 36, heads to United after the international break and looks set to make his debut against Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday week.
The five-time Champions League king won the first of those with the Red Devils — along with three Prem titles, the FA Cup and two League Cups. He spoke yesterday of his desire to win more “great things” in his second stint.
Ronaldo, who left United for Real Madrid in 2009, said: “I have a fantastic history with this amazing club. I was there at 18 years old and, of course, I’m so happy to be back home after 12 years.
The coach can count on me for whatever he wants
“So I’m really glad and looking forward to starting my first game.
“It’s a new chapter, I’m so happy and glad — I want to carry on again, to make history, to try to help Manchester achieve great results and to win great things.”
Asked if he has spoken to his new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer yet, Ronaldo replied: “Well, we had a chat, but, of course, I’m going to have time to speak with him face to face, to know what he expects.
“As you know, I played with him for two or three years at Manchester United, so I have a good relationship with him but now with a different role. I’m a player and he’s a coach.
“But it doesn’t matter, my relationship with him is great and, as I say before, I’m there in Manchester to help the team achieve his results.
“The coach can count on me for whatever he wants. So I’m available for everything.”
Sir Alex Ferguson was the key
After completing the transfer on Tuesday, Ronaldo dedicated his Old Trafford return to Sir Alex Ferguson, saying in a message on Instagram: “Sir Alex, this one is for you . . . ”
Ronaldo added: “Since I signed for Manchester at 18, Sir Alex Ferguson was the key.
“Sir Alex is like a father in football for me. He helped me a lot, he taught me many things and he had a big role because of the relationship that we had, we keep in touch all the time and he’s an unbelievable person.
“I really like him a lot and he was the main key for me to be in the position that I am, that I signed for Manchester United.”
Another new arrival at United this summer is centre-back Raphael Varane — with the French defender having joined from Real Madrid for an initial fee of £32.4million.
Maguire, preparing for England’s World Cup qualifier against Hungary in Budapest tonight, was asked whether he could see something in Varane and French team-mate Paul Pogba that makes them stand out as world champions.
He added: “They are amazing players. They have a great mentality as they come into training every day and they want to improve.
“They don’t settle for drawing or losing. I think you see in a lot of teams they have to come close and have disappointments before they actually hit where they want to get to.
“I hope and pray that that’s where we are at the moment with England.
“I think the mentality of this group of players will be tested over the next 14 months to see how much we can improve on what we have shown over the last couple of years.”
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Harry Maguire is hopeful England and Man Utd can both push onCredit: Getty