Scouting report - Ledley King on Cristiano Ronaldo
17 October 2017|Tottenham Hotspur
Ledley King first crossed swords with Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2003 as the young winger from Portugal found his feet in his first season at Manchester United. Look at him now! Ledley talks Ronaldo as we prepare to face holders Real Madrid in an intriguing Champions League Group H fixture at the Bernabeu this evening...
- Joined our Academy in 1997, professional 1998
- One-club man, made 323 appearances for us between 1999-2012
- League Cup winner and captain, 2008
- Captained team into Champions League for first time, 2010
- Retired 2012, now Club Ambassador
- Capped 21 times by England, Euro 2004, World Cup 2010
- Joined United from Sporting in 2003
- Premier League champion 2007, 2008, 2009
- Champions League winner 2008
- PFA and FWA Player of the Year 2007, 2008
- Joined Real Madrid in 2009
- La Liga winner 2012, 2017
- Champions League winner 2014, 2016, 2017
- Real Madrid's all-time record goalscorer (412)
- Currently has 286 goals in 269 La Liga appearances for Real Madrid
- Portugal's all-time caps and goalscorer - 79 goals in 147 caps
- Four-times Ballon d'Or winner and holder
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his goal in the 2017 Champions League Final
Ledley King: "I remember Cristiano playing for Sporting (Lisbon) against Manchester United in a friendly (in 2003) and thinking to myself ‘wow’. He came to United and it was a little more difficult for him at first. He had all the skills, all the flair, all the ability but it was then about when to use it and that took him a little time.
"It was always difficult to play against him. Don’t forget, he was in a United side packed full of top players and when you have that, it’s difficult to just focus on one player because there are other players who can hurt you as well. That’s as true at Real Madrid as anywhere!
"When you faced him at United, you would try to get bodies around him, don’t give him room, double-up on him, keep him in areas where he couldn’t hurt you as much and ultimately, try to get him to move the ball on. You always knew, one-on-one, he could cause all sorts of problems. It’s almost impossible to do that for the full 90 minutes but you limit his chances and keep him away from goal as much as possible. At the time same time, you have to be aware of your shape as a team and try not to get dragged all over the place.
"By all accounts he’s always had that inner strength, that drive to continually try to improve himself and to be the best and when you couple that with the raw ability, it shows how far you can go. In his case, it’s taken him to the very top.
"He’s taken his career to another level since he left United for Real Madrid. He can do everything but the key thing on top of all that is the work ethic. He’s won the lot, titles, European Cups, the European Championships now last year, Ballon d’Ors, but the desire to remain at the top is still there. That’s what takes the great players to that next level."