Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has revealed Cristiano Ronaldo texted him following the club’s vital 2-1 win over Villarreal on Wednesday night. It was yet another laborious performance from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. But that won’t matter, with the Red Devils claiming all three points from a sensational contest.
After losing against Young Boys in their opening Champions League fixture, United couldn’t afford to lose this one.
But they stared down the barrel of a second consecutive defeat when Paco Alcacer struck in the 53rd minute.
United then drew level through Alex Telles, who expertly volleyed in Bruno Fernandes’ deft free-kick to get Old Trafford rocking.
And Ronaldo nearly raised the roof of the famous stadium right at the death, with the Portugal international tapping home from close range following good work from Jesse Lingard.
United now have three points on the board, with Solskjaer looking jubilant as Ronaldo’s late goal went in.
And Ferdinand was equally delighted, revealing the match winner sent him a text after the game saying he ‘knew’ he’d score.
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“He (Ronaldo) text me tonight saying ”I didn’t’ play well but I knew I’d score’” he said on BT Sport.
“That’s the belief that he has. The other players are feeding off it. It’s a great place to be.
“United’s performance today wasn’t great, it wasn’t at the level Ole wants it to be.
“But when you need a goal, a moment to galvanise the squad, the stadium, the fanbase, Cristiano Ronaldo steps up.
“He wants to be that guy the chance falls to. His goal record says it all. He’s there for the big moments. He’s a big part of that too.
“When you have a player like Cristiano Ronaldo, the players in the dressing room are given life.
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“There’s a lease of life, belief, because they know if the chance comes, he will put them away.
“It gives you that ability to be relaxed. It was the biggest thing in our team.
“When you get under even more pressure and you can see the clock ticking, you don’t panic. We were very composed because we believed the chances would come.”
Solskjaer beamed on the touchline as Ronaldo came to his rescue and waxed lyrical over his former team-mate in his post-match interview.
“He’s done that so many times,” Solskjaer said.
“When you saw him against the Republic of Ireland a few weeks ago [for Portugal], he missed a penalty early, didn’t touch the ball more or less and then scored two great headers in the last two minutes.
“That’s just what he’s done throughout his career. He’s so strong mentally.
“He stays in the game, I’ve seen him all day today, the way he’s built himself up for this game, how focused he’s been and when he gets that one chance, it’s a goal.
“But a true mark of a very good finisher is that he keeps calm when the chance arrives.
“He’s so good in front of goal and he has an impact on everyone – the crowd, the players, everyone.”
Solskjaer also had praise for David De Gea, too.
“He had a difficult summer after the final,” he added.
“He went to the Euros, didn’t play there, but he’s really come back with a determination and a belief and a work rate that I’ve enjoyed.
“And today, he got a deserved outcome because he saved us tonight, we have to be realistic and say that.
“We’ve got two very good keepers in Dean [Henderson] and Tom [Heaton] too, but tonight, David deserves, from me, the man of the match.”