Cristiano Ronaldo hit his first goal of the season in Manchester United's 3-1 Carling Cup success over Middlesbrough. "Cristiano has done that many times," said United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who also feels the furore involving Real Madrid has is now well and truly behind him.

"I think Cristiano has come to accept that at this stage of his career, United is the place for him.

"Southern Europeans want at some point to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona, so I understood what was going on in Cristiano's mind when he declared he wanted to join Real.

"But once we had talked he accepted it was a move for the future.

"I pointed out to him how much better it would be to leave like Eric Cantona, with the fans loving and appreciating him.

"The crowd still chant Cantona's name and I told Cristiano 'Leave a hero like Eric' and one day he will. But not yet."

Adam Johnson equalised Ronaldo's header with a powerful second half volley but Pogatetz's departure affected Middlesbrough more than United and the hosts had got on top before Giggs took advantage of Gary O'Neil's slip 11 minutes from time and Nani sealed a place in the fourth round in stoppage time.