Pep Guardiola’s comments on Cristiano Ronaldo after Man Utd star snubbed Man City transfer

Lingard thrilled to have Ronaldo back at Man Utd

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Pep Guardiola has hailed Cristiano Ronaldo despite the Manchester United star turning down Manchester City back in the summer. The Portugal international was close to moving to the Etihad Stadium from Juventus. However, in the end, he secured a Hollywood homecoming to Old Trafford instead.

In the summer, after missing out on Tottenham hitman Harry Kane, it looked as though City were going to burn their rivals by bringing in Ronaldo.

The 36-year-old had made it known he was eager to leave Juventus behind after three mixed years in Turin.

And with City looking for a replacement for Sergio Aguero, they explored ways to bring the Portugal international to the Etihad.

Guardiola was, at one stage, confident he’d have Ronaldo in his side.

But everything changed late on, with United getting involved to hijack a deal.

The likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand and Bruno Fernandes all picked up the phone to Ronaldo, imploring him to return home instead.

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And their actions worked, with the veteran then choosing to rejoin United 12 years after he’d left for Real Madrid.

So far, the veteran hasn’t disappointed.

His brilliant brace against Atalanta on Tuesday night has taken his goal tally for the campaign to nine, from 12 outings across all competitions.

And, on Saturday, Ronaldo will have a chance to show City exactly what they’re missing when United meet their rivals in the Manchester derby.

Now, speaking ahead of that match, Guardiola has opened up on the Red Devils’ talisman.

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And he showed there was no bad blood by hailing Ronaldo, insisting he’s one of the best players to ever grace the game.

“I didn’t see the United match [against Atalanta],” he said following his side’s 4-1 win over Club Brugge on Wednesday night.

“I’m going to analyse and to see what they are so I know how good they are.

“We saw it last season. They have one of the best players in history, a guy who can be a scoring machine.”

And Guardiola added: “People [were upset] for the fact I said today is more important than United and it was.

“Now, the most important game ever is United.

“The second half [against Brugge] was really good. A good game, good victory. We need one point to go through, three points to win the group.”

Meanwhile, Sky Sports’ Paul Merson has backed down on criticism of Ronaldo by acknowledging he was wrong.

“It’s got to be one of the best finishes of all-time; it’s just out of absolutely nothing,” Merson said of his late leveller against Atalanta.

“He didn’t touch the ball in the second half. Not through his fault, he just didn’t get the service.

“But it comes to him and there’s no snatching at it, he hits through the ball perfectly.

“It’s absolutely phenomenal and his first goal was brilliant as well.

“I was one of the big critics. I was one who wasn’t sure about him coming back.

“But if you give him chances, he will score goals. Thirty-six or 46, it doesn’t make any difference, he will finish.

“If you took away his two goals tonight, he’s a two out of 10. But his two goals are phenomenal and I’m lost for words.”

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