He said: "We're all delighted that Cristiano is going to be honoured. And he deserves it. For any winger to score 42 goals in a season is remarkable, but to do it in the Premier League is even more phenomenal.
"It's no real surprise we haven't had a European Player of the Year in my time here until now. You could certainly have made a case for several of our 1999 Treble winning team to have won it, but two of our outstanding players - Roy Keane and Paul Scholes - missed the final."