Schmeichel compared the impact of Ronaldo's return to when Eric Cantona came to the club in 1992.
He told theSeaman Says podcast: "This is what he brings. He is 36, getting to 37 now, but he looks chiselled and we saw that when he scored that late goal in Europe the other week.
"He is fantastically fit and the reason he is is because he takes his football so seriously. He eats, sleeps, drinks and trains football, his whole life is about that.
"I remember when Eric came, he infused something different into our dressing room or into the whole character of the club because he was different, he did things in a different way.
"Before you knew it, some of the younger players were starting to do that and they were still developing. The Nevilles, Scholes and Nicky Butt, they looked at Eric and started to do some of his things.
"With [United coach] Eric Harrison they had a great footballing education and they were maybe 97 per cent ready to go out there.
"Those three per cent, the last bit, came from Eric and that made them just a tiny bit different to other players they were up against in their positions. It is the same with Cristiano."
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