Despite Cristiano Ronaldo becoming one of the best players in the world during his time at Manchester United, the Portugal superstar was never named captain of the club, and former Red Devils skipper Gary Neville has now revealed why.
Ronaldo currently plies his trade for Juventus following a highly successful spell with Real Madrid, but spent six seasons at United between 2003 and 2009, scoring 118 goals in 292 appearances and winning two Premier League Player of the Season awards in the process.
The now-35-year-old also won the first of his five Ballon d'Or titles during his time with the Red Devils, but was overlooked for the captain's armband by manager Sir Alex Ferguson – a decision that has now been explained by club legend and former captain Gary Neville.
"I got injured a year after taking the captaincy and that became really difficult for me," Neville told Sky Sports.
"It felt as though I wasn't contributing like a captain should be for my last four years (and) I actually went to see Sir Alex in pre-season about the third year I was captain.
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"We had an amazing team: Ronaldo, (Wayne) Rooney, (Carlos) Tevez, (Ryan) Giggs, (Paul) Scholes, (Michael) Carrick, (Rio) Ferdinand, (Nemanja) Vidic, (Patrice) Evra, (Edwin) van der Sar… there were some great personalities and players in that group.
"I went over to Sir Alex walking on to the training pitch and said, 'I don't feel worthy of keeping the captaincy anymore. This team is to a level I can't compete at.'
"He said, 'You'll keep that f-ing armband, son' and the reason he gave me (was) 'You and Giggs will rotate it. If I give it to Ronaldo, Rooney will kick off. If I give it to Rooney, Ronaldo will kick off. If I give it to Vidic, Ferdinand won't be happy.'
"So, literally, I think me and Giggsy kept it for three or four years beyond that just purely because of the fact, the camaraderie in the dressing room. We were the policemen if you like, the older statesmen.
"Sir Alex wanted to make sure the team came first. Even though I felt unworthy as a captain at that stage."
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