But he now says: "I was surprised by his play. He is a player that has a lot of self-confidence, a belief in everything he does. He imposes his determination on the rest. He's great in everything he does.
"It's amazing the success he has achieved at his age.
"My favourite type of player is more similar to (Andres) Iniesta, a team player. But Cristiano has won me over, I'm under the influence of his charm.
"He makes a real difference."