The Portuguese ace told Publico: "Believe me, it makes me proud to know how much he thinks of me. And he knows I feel exactly the same way about him. He has been one of the most important people in my playing career. Not only because of what I've learnt and continue to learn from him in sporting terms but also in human ones as well. I love the passion he has for football. If it were humanly possible I would like to have him always by my side. Of course it's not possible but it shows how much affection, admiration and respect I have for him.
"He has always been like a second father to me at Manchester United. I'll never forget that it was him that explained the significance of the No7 United shirt, which will always be my shirt. When I was at Sporting I had a number of offers, some of them very lucrative. One of them offered eight million Euros just as a signing on fee and meant that I would play for Sporting for one more year and then leave as a free agent. But money isn't everything. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter, Milan, Juventus, Valencia and practically all the big clubs were also interested.
"At the time, Jorge Mendes (Ronaldo's agent) explained that Manchester United also wanted me and that Sir Alex Ferguson had told him that he would be very careful with my playing career. So I would play at least 50% of the games in the first season, which is what happened. This shows that I also chose Manchester United and that money wasn't the deciding factor. Alongside my agent [Mendes], Sir Alex Ferguson has been the most important person I've ever known in my career. Because of this, because of the special relationship that exists between us, I know that he'll understand that there are times when a father has to worry only about what's best for his child."