Gary Neville reveals why Sir Alex Ferguson never made Cristiano Ronaldo captain despite being prolific with Manchester United.
Manchester United had one of the best squads around mid to late 2000’s. The side was brim with talent in all positions. Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick were among the few big names that squad boasted of.
The person tasked to lead the side was Gary Neville, who wore the armband from 2005 to 2011. However, the right back admitted he didn’t feel qualified to be at the helm of the star-studded squad. Speaking to Sky Sports, he even revealed that he encouraged his manager to demote him but was swiftly turned down by the legendary manager.
Gary Neville reveals why Sir Alex Ferguson never made Cristiano Ronaldo captain
“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.
‘I actually went to see Sir Alex in pre-season about the third year I was captain. We had an amazing team: Ronaldo, Rooney, [Carlos] Tevez, 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 onto 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,’ The reason he gave me: ‘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.”
Vidic, Ferdinand and Rooney would go on to become club captains in the years since. However, Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid and never got to officially become the captain. He does lead the Portugal national side and helped them to success at the Euro 2016.
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