Bayern Munich defender Matthijs de Ligt has leapt to the defence of former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo as the Portuguese forward continues to try and engineer an exit from Manchester United.
Ronaldo wants to leave Old Trafford in search of Champions League football and only featured in 45 minutes of pre-season action for the Red Devils this summer – the first half of Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano.
However, the 37-year-old left the stadium at half-time and has since been publicly reprimanded by new boss Erik ten Hag.
De Ligt, who played alongside Ronaldo for two years during their respective spells at Juventus, has claimed that contrary to reports, he never found the veteran forward to be a disruptive influence and that he was great working with young players.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is a great character, he talks a lot with his teammates, with the young players, and is always ready to help. He will soon be 38, but he’s shaped like a 24-year-old and still scores his goals. You can only admire him,” De Ligt said in an interview with kicker.
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“He did a great job at Juventus, he scored goals and was a great teammate. If you ask me who is the best player in the world inside the penalty area I say Ronaldo.
“You always have to keep an eye on him otherwise he scores.”
Ronaldo has been linked with a move to Bayern Munich this summer, though this has been repeatedly denied by the club’s officials who have insisted he would not fit in with their ‘philosophy’.