Rio Ferdinand has revealed how he knew Cristiano Ronaldo would be a superstar of the modern game from the very first day he saw him at Manchester United.
The Portuguese arrived at Old Trafford in 2003 and claimed eight major honours under Sir Alex Ferguson before departing for Real Madrid in 2009.
And he has since cemented himself as one of the all time greats, claiming a ridiculous 437 goals in 427 appearances for Los Blancos.
Speaking on BT Sport after yet another goalscoring display from Ronaldo, this time to knock Paris Saint Germain out of the Champions League, made it clear that he was always going to be a superstar.
“It’s incredible, really. When I first ever saw him, I thought, ‘Yeah, this is a superstar in the making. He’s just going to hone his skills and then he can become the best player in the world,” he said.
“But to do what he has done in terms of the numbers, the goals, the consistency, year in, year out, maintaining a level them levels.”
You could easily write a university dissertation consisting entirely of outrageous Ronaldo statistics. His goalscoring record alone since joining Madrid just boggles the mind.
Even at the age of 33, with Madrid far from what they used to be, he still has the capacity to turn it on when it matters, scoring in every Champions League game this season. Every one.
And he has done this for years. Out of the 135 teams to ever participate in the Champions League, Ronaldo has personally outscored 116 of them.
We have never before seen a footballer as gifted as Lionel Messi; but we have never, ever seen a better monument to relentless self improvement and the art of winning games than Ronaldo.