You do a double-take when Sir Alex Ferguson says that Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player the Manchester United legend has ever had. Why? Because here we have Europe's longest-serving manager for a big club, a man who's won more domestic titles than any other coach of his era, so when he speaks, he speaks with authority. "I've had some great players here over the years -- Bryan Robson and Roy Keane, but in terms of sheer ability and imagination, Cristiano is, without doubt, looking the best now," Ferguson says during an interview about the life of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo may have only won one major title with Manchester United, but his manager says that on current form, Ronaldo's ability to dominate play surpasses the talent of the great Eric Cantona -- a man who the Scot once famously described as "a can-opener" of opposing defenses. Ronaldo says he is honored to be compared with such a great player. "I know what [Cantona] meant to United and what he helped achieve in his time at the club."
Ferguson's comments form the interview, published today by the Independent , come just two days after another sparkling, match-winning performance by young Ronaldo. Against Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League on Tuesday, the Portuguese winger fired home an unstoppable free kick to lift United past his compatriots in stoppage time at Old Trafford.