Cristiano Ronaldo the special footballer of his generation, says Sir Alex Ferguson

Cristiano Ronaldo has helped Portugal to their first major tournament title

Sir Alex Ferguson has labelled Cristiano Ronaldo as the "special footballer" of his generation.

Ronaldo, watched by Ferguson, finally broke his trophy duck on the international stage, helping Portugal win Euro 2016 last Sunday.

The Real Madrid forward, who is favourite to win the 2016 FIFA Ballon d'Or, only lasted 25 minutes of the final, coming off injured following a strong challenge but re-appeared on the sidelines during extra-time to help rally his team-mates as they beat France 1-0 at the Stade de France.

And Ferguson, who brought Ronaldo to Old Trafford in 2003, insists it is the 31-year-old's desire to that makes him the best of his generation.

Manchester United's manager Sir Alex Ferguson speaks to Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo after their Champions League soccer match at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid
Image: Sir Alex Ferguson insists Cristiano Ronaldo's desire sets him out from his contemporaries

"He has an incredible desire for football, Cristiano is looking forward to each workout," Ferguson told Bild. "He always wants to be better, to win. He especially loves these big games.

"During my time at Manchester United, Cristiano was the player who developed the most. Through much hard work.

"He constantly worked on his shooting technique, with the right, left, his heading ability, his bounce. His performance improvement is incredible. And what is remarkable, today's football is so athletic, so fast.

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PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 10:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal reacts during the UEFA EURO 2016 Final match between Portugal and France at Stade de France on July
Image: Ronaldo rallied his team-mates from the sidelines during extra-time of the Euro 2016 final

"Usually top players can only play for about five or six years at the highest level, then it's over," Ferguson added. "Cristiano has been doing this for over 10 years. That makes him so exceptional.

"Every generation has its special footballer, Cristiano is currently."

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