Cristiano Ronaldo’s first goal on Man Utd return in pictures
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Cristiano Ronaldo has a funny side to his character, according to former Manchester United star Patrice Evra. The France international played alongside the Portuguese forward at Old Trafford between 2006 and 2009. And he’s now opened up on his old team-mate.
Evra joined United in the January transfer window of 2006, with Ronaldo already three years into his stint at Old Trafford at that time.
And the duo both struck up a good connection on the flanks, with the Red Devils winning three Premier League titles on the trot.
Ronaldo is known as a serial winner, the perfect professional, having evolved over the years.
But Evra, speaking to club media in a Q and A session, has now revealed a funny side to the 36-year-old’s character.
“We became friends because I speak Portuguese and it’s because of our work ethic,” he said.
“We like to work really hard and give everything.
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“We also played on the left-hand side together so that connection was natural.
“To be fair, if he wasn’t a friend, I wouldn’t pass him any balls! We’d better be friends when we are playing together.
“That work ethic and the funny side, banter. Cristiano loves banter and I do too, so all of that.”
Evra was also asked about his toughest opponent and the larger-than-life character didn’t disappoint.
He initially said himself, before admitting he found Liverpool’s James Milner ‘annoying’ to play against.
“The best player I played against it was Patrice,” he said.
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“I was my worst enemy, because I never feared anyone. I was just like when I wasn’t in a good day, I knew anyone could beat me, but most of the time I was in a good day.
“The toughest one? It’s not the toughest one but the most annoying one was James Milner.
“People always expect me to say another one but James Milner the reason was because he was always defending more than myself.
“I’m someone, I’m an attacking defender so he frustrated me so much because he was following me everywhere.
“Even if I was going in the toilet, he was going to follow me. I would say the most annoying is James Milner.”
In 2008, United won the Champions League.
But that isn’t Evra’s favourite season. Instead, he claims his first – despite being difficult – was his No 1.
“Everyone thinks that 2007/08 is my favourite season, but it’s not,” he said.
“My favourite moment at United was my first game against Manchester City when I got subbed after 45 minutes and Sir Alex Ferguson was like: ‘now you sit next to me and you learn English football.’
“Nobody warned me about that, even my Italian football agent.
“I remember we went home and he said: ‘Patrice I’m so sorry for bringing you to Manchester United. It was one of the biggest mistakes. We should have stayed in Monte Carlo in the sun and the football is so difficult here.’
“So yeah, I enjoyed my first six months because they were tough and, without those six months, I don’t think I’d have become the player I am.”
And, on his screamer against Bayern Munich in 2014, he added: “It’s the full story of that game, that goal.
“The day before the game, we went to the site of the Munich Air Crash. I had some little prayers over there, it was an emotional day.
“Get back to my room, I never pray for playing a good game. I pray for my friend, my enemy, my family. I just said ‘play a good game and I want the Busby Babes to be proud of me’.
“And when I scored that goal I always say to people I didn’t score that goal, the Busby Babes did. So I always dedicate that goal to the Busby Babes.
“Unfortunately we didn’t win that game, so I was really sad and I forgot my goal but now when I see it I’m like what a goal! Now I can enjoy the goal!”
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