Gary Neville has claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo would not be the world-beating player he is today if it were not for his spell at Manchester United.
Ronaldo was a key part of the Manchester United side under Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford and helped the Red Devils win numerous trophies, including the Premier League and Champions League.
The Portugal superstar eventually ended up signing for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009 in what was a world-record transfer deal at the time.
Ronaldo has since gone on to establish himself as one of the top players in world football, and has won three Ballon d’Ors.
However, former Manchester United defender Neville feels that Ronaldo’s time at Old Trafford was a key part in his development into one of the best players in the world.
Speaking in an interview with talkSPORT, Neville said: He didn’t arrive at Manchester United as someone who was setting the tone for everybody else. It wasn’t a case of he came in and all of a sudden everyone else upped their game, that’s not how it was.
“He became that out of what was in that dressing room. Cristiano was butchered and battered for two or three years at Manchester United and he has said it made him a man.
“He was setting the standards when he left, and he became someone who would come in and do half an hour before training and an hour after training, but there had been 20 players per season for 15 years doing that every day.
“The club, and Sir Alex [Ferguson], and the players all set the tone for each other. If you look at his performances in the first two or three years, his maturity, his decision making, his physicality, his petulance, they were all smoothed out over a period of three or four years at the club.”
Manchester United are currently in sixth place in the Premier League table after seven games of the new season.