Former United goalkeeper and Netherlands legendary goalie Edwin van der Sar has recalled his memories with Cristiano Ronaldo during their period at the Old Trafford.
Both players played together for a period of four years – Ronaldo joined in 2003, and van der Sar in 2005 – before the Portuguese forward broke the hearts of many United fans to join Real Madrid in 2009 for a then world record fee.
Having joined in 2005 when the Portuguese hadn’t won any of his five Ballons d’Or, Edwin van der Sar recalled moments starring a young Ronaldo, featuring Wayne Rooney. The former goalie pointed that then 20 year old Cristiano was tenacious both on the football pitch during matches and on the training ground.
Speaking to FourFourTwo magazine, Edwin van der Sar said: “They (Ronaldo and Rooney) both worked incredibly hard on the pitch, but Cristiano took it up a level. Off the field, he was focusing on everything extensively such as resting up properly and strengthening his body.
“After trainings sessions he would often work on his free-kicks and then came to me and say: ‘Edwin, can you come in goal?’
“I’d say I was old so he would be better off using one of the youth team keepers, but he would insist I went in goal as he wanted to score past me.
“I would tease him a lot and say things like: You won’t score against me and you know it. The reserve goalie is better for your confidence.
“He’d get agitated and reply: ‘No, no. You’ve got to go in goal.’ Cristiano is a really good guy, the common perception of him is not a true reflection of his personality.”