Ronaldo is a bully, says Neville

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has singled out Cristiano Ronaldo as the main threat they will face from Real Madrid in the Champions League. If that invites the response "well, duh", Neville did have a few more insights to offer.

"Ronaldo is a bully," the Sky Sports pundit said. "He bullies the weakest defender. He does it all the time." Neville played alongside Ronaldo in a United shirt for six seasons and said the Portuguese star changed the way he thought about football.

Until Ronaldo’s arrival, Neville had been accustomed to a disciplined midfield quartet who would cover him when he went forward and double up on opposition wingers – with Neville’s friend David Beckham usually doing the dutiful stuff. Ronaldo was not quite so reliable.

"In those early years he used to go wandering off," Neville recalled. "He was told to play on the right by Sir Alex Ferguson and would end up on the left. That was unheard of."

Ronaldo was special enough to get away with it though. "By the end of his Manchester United career I was willing him not to chase back so he was free," Neville added. "He just decided his own position, which was based upon where the space was and who was the weak link. He made me realise you didn't always need to be in your shape."

With Ronaldo managing more than a goal a game for Real since he joined in 2009, it is apparent that few managers have come up with an effective way to shackle him. Ferguson may opt to use Phil Jones in a man-marking role but the young England player will have a tough night against one of the world’s best forwards. "You literally need to have two men against him," Neville said. "Even then they might both get beaten."

United Kingdom - Excite Network Copyright ©1995 - 2021