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Vidic: “Ronaldo is the most professional footballer I’ve seen”

Cristiano Ronaldo, Nemanja Vidic, Manchester United
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Nemanja Vidic opened up on how a 21-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo’s professionalism left him stunned at Manchester United.

Vidic partnered Ronaldo for three-and-a-half years at United, where the pair won three Premier League titles and a Champions League before the Portuguese star left for Real Madrid in 2009.

While it’s now been a decade, the duo are still friends off the field even after Ronaldo helped Portugal defeat Vidic’s native Serbia 4-2 last week.

There was even a nice moment after the game, where Vidic waited outside so that his two boys could meet their idol Ronaldo (see below).

Now the retired defender has revealed how his old team-mate’s professionalism left him stunned during their time at Old Trafford.

“Cristiano is the most professional footballer I came across in my entire career,” Vidic told The Athletic.

“He had a big talent. He had a big dream, a big desire and big targets. He never stopped pushing himself to the limit. He’s never going to stop and I respect that a lot.

“I marked him in training each day. He was technically excellent. He could shoot with the right foot, the left foot.

“He was good in the air. He was always trying to develop himself, to improve.

“What impressed me was how much do you know when you are a 21-year-old kid, as Cristiano was when he was at United?

“Here’s what he knew — that after training he would do some more practising of free-kicks and dribbling, then he would go home and do stretching and more exercise. He has deserved all his success.”

Vidic himself left United in 2014 after making 300 appearances for the club across all competitions. He won five Premier League titles, three League Cups and the Champions League in a nine-year stay.

The former Serbia international now works as a television pundit.