Cristiano Ronaldo says he would have been "an imbecile" if he failed to learn from the likes of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs during his early days at Manchester United.

The Portugal international made his name at Old Trafford after joining the Premier League club from Sporting CP in 2003 at the age of 18.

He scored 118 goals in six seasons with United and has since starred for Real Madrid and current side Juventus, recently netting his 700th career goal for club and country.

When asked how he developed into such a prolific forward, Ronaldo told France Football: "By using my brain. If you've got a little intelligence, you look and take example from those who are doing things better than you. 

"That's what I did when I was in Manchester with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Rio Ferdinand… if you don't learn from guys like that, you're an imbecile. 

"The goal isn't to imitate but to take aspects from those who are the best and adapt it to your own personality. That's what I did. I had some talent and I watched them.

"Sir Alex Ferguson also taught me a lot, and I realised I had the potential to score, not only dribble and pass. I started to think of being a complete player without any weakness.

"I could score with my right foot, my left foot and my head. I'm strong and I'm quick. If you have this and a real ethic and a good lifestyle, you can still do it at 34-and-a-half."

Ronaldo has won five Ballons d'Or and has been shortlisted for this year's award after an impressive debut campaign in Serie A with Juve.

Now into his 18th campaign at senior level, the Portuguese remains as driven as ever to remain at the top of his game.

Reflecting on Juve's 2-1 comeback win at home to Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League last week, Ronaldo said: "They refused to play and parked the bus in front of their goal.

"It was hard to score. I didn't do it and I was frustrated at the end. That's normal. The most important thing is that the team wins.

"But when I went back to the dressing room, I chilled out. After the match, I went to dinner with friends. I got home at four in the morning. I had a glass of iced water before bed. I slept until 10 then I had my breakfast.

"At 11, I went to work in the gym. If you don't have that discipline every day, you can't stay at the top for 15 years."

Scott McTominay had the honour of scoring Manchester United's 2000th Premier League goal as the Red Devils defeated Norwich City on Sunday and became the first team in the competition's history to hit the milestone.

A look back through the Old Trafford archives offers a striking masterclass from some of the greatest marksmen to have graced English football, with the likes of Mark Hughes, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke and Ruud van Nistelrooy having plundered goals for the club.

Every United fan has their own favourite goal from the Premier League era, with unforgettable hits lighting up each of the 13 title triumphs achieved under Sir Alex Ferguson.

We've picked out eight of the very best, all of which came during the Ferguson era - a time when goals were easier to come by than they have been of late for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.


David Beckham v Wimbledon, August 17, 1996

It was the opening day of the 1996-97 season and Ferguson gave the number 10 shirt to the 21-year-old midfielder David Beckham.

United were already 2-0 up and heading for a straightforward victory at Selhurst Park when Beckham received the ball from Brian McClair and, from just inside his own half, launched it audaciously into the air, over the head of Dons goalkeeper Neil Sullivan and into the net.

It was one of the most memorable goals in Premier League history and one Beckham himself names as the pick of his career.

Eric Cantona v Sunderland, December 20, 1996

Four months after Beckham's famous lob, United were 4-0 up against Sunderland at Old Trafford when Eric Cantona - in what was to be his final season at the club - collected the ball just inside the Black Cats' half.

The enigmatic Frenchman drove forward in possession, exchanged passes with Brian McClair, and then produced an exquisite chip over the stranded Lionel Perez that clipped the inside of the post on the way in.

He then turned, flipped his collar, and spawned a celebration that would be imitated by United fans everywhere for years to come.

Paul Scholes v Bradford City, March 25, 2000

Paul Scholes has spoken about the understanding he shared with Beckham during their days at United, and that intuition paid off in spades at Valley Parade in 1999-2000.

Beckham sent a corner straight to the edge of the Bradford City penalty area where Scholes was waiting with his hammer of a right foot, which arrowed a volley into the Bradford net with scorching ferocity.

Ruud van Nistelrooy v Fulham, March 22, 2003

Given his reputation as a penalty-area predator, it is understandable that Fulham's defenders might not have taken the threat of Van Nistelrooy running towards them from just inside his own half too seriously.

The Netherlands international had the last laugh, though, waltzing past a host of flat-footed Cottagers before tucking the ball past Maik Taylor with his customary composure.

Paul Scholes v Aston Villa, December 23, 2006

This entire list could feasibly be made up of the gifted midfielder's goals, given his penchant for strikes sent from the heavens.

One of his best was undoubtedly against Aston Villa in December 2006 when he met a cleared corner with a volley that crashed in off the underside of Gabor Kiraly's crossbar.

Cristiano Ronaldo v Portsmouth, January 30, 2008

He can often be wayward from dead balls but when Cristiano Ronaldo gets it right, it is usually a thing of beauty.

His free-kick against Portsmouth in 2008 was a case in point, the Portuguese superstar crashing a free-kick past David James with the kind of speed and accuracy that most players can only dream of.

Wayne Rooney v Manchester City, February 12, 2011

United's all-time leading scorer with 253 goals, Wayne Rooney did not score many as important - or indeed as special - as his overhead kick against Manchester City in February 2011. Combine the two and it is clear to see why this acrobatic volley is regarded as one of the most iconic in Premier League history.

Rooney reacted to a slight deflection off Pablo Zabaleta on Nani's cross by checking his run and sending his shot flying past Joe Hart.

The moment of magic arrived 12 minutes from time at Old Trafford after David Silva's deflected equaliser cancelled out Nani's opener, giving United a 2-1 win and putting their title assault back on track.

Robin van Persie v Aston Villa, April 22, 2013

Brought to Manchester United by Alex Ferguson in August 2012 with the sole aim of wrestling the title back from Manchester City, Robin van Persie did exactly that with 26 Premier League goals in his maiden campaign at Old Trafford.

The Dutchman's flying volley against Aston Villa in April 2013 was the pick of the bunch, with the strike helping to seal his side's 20th league title with four matches to spare in a 3-0 victory.

United were a goal to the good when Van Persie, watching strike partner Rooney's searching ball all the way, smashed an unstoppable left-footed volley past Brad Guzan.

Van Persie scored all three goals at Villa Park that day, but only one of those strikes - one worthy of sealing any title - truly stands the test of time.

Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil would be a good short-term midfield solution for goal-shy Manchester United, according to Paul Scholes.

United ended an 11-match winless run on their travels with a 1-0 Europa League victory at Partizan Belgrade on Thursday.

Anthony Martial's match-winning penalty was their only attempt on target in Belgrade, having also failed to register a single effort from open play in their goalless draw with AZ earlier this month

Ozil was again left out of Arsenal's matchday squad for the 3-2 win over Vitoria SC on Thursday, meanwhile, and has been used just twice in all competitions this season.

United legend Scholes believes his former side could benefit from signing a player of Ozil's quality, telling BT Sport: "I can’t understand [Ozil's situation]. 

"I think he's a player that can link a team together.

"I think he's got great quality, he's shown that in his career, he could be an answer short term, I don't know. I think that would be up to him. 

"I can't see it happening but I think he is a player that United could do with right now."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have failed to score more than once in 12 games since the 4-0 thrashing of Chelsea in their opening game of the season, leaving Scholes to question their lack of creativity.

"There's no link between the midfield players and the strikers," he said. "The weight of pass at times was so bad [against Partizan].

"You want to be encouraged, you want to see some bits of good play now and again, a one-two here and there, the number 10 receiving the ball on the half turn, but there's a lack of encouragement."

United return to Premier League action on Sunday with a trip to Norwich City.

Paul Pogba will not be a big loss to Manchester United should he leave, according to club great Paul Scholes.

Pogba announced at the end of the 2018-19 season that he wanted to depart Old Trafford, with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez recently confirming he tried to sign the France midfielder.

But a move failed to materialise and Pogba started the new Premier League campaign at United, though he is currently injured.

Scholes suggested the club may have asked Pogba to give them another year, similar to before Cristiano Ronaldo was allowed to join Madrid in 2009.

"I think it's quite clear he wants to move on," said Scholes, a 13-time Premier League winner during his career-long association with United.

"He wanted to go to Real Madrid, for whatever reason it didn't happen.

"I wouldn't be surprised if the same offer had been made like with Cristiano when he was at United.

"If they've asked him to stay for a year we'll see what happens, but I don't think he'll be a big loss to United.

"I don't think his form has been great anyway, over the two or three years he's been there. I'm sure there are more players who can do just as good a job."

United play their opening Europa League match against Astana on Thursday.

Pogba is expected to be sidelined by an ankle injury that caused him to miss international duty with World Cup winners France.

England's so-called 'golden generation' never quite delivered on the pitch, but there might still be hope for success in the coaching arena.

Sven-Goran Eriksson's side were beaten in the quarter-finals of three consecutive major tournaments from 2002 to 2006 despite being considered among the favourites.

However, with many of these involved now long since retired, management beckons.

And Wayne Rooney will join a number of former team-mates in taking on a coaching role after agreeing to move to Derby County as player-coach in January.

We take a look at other members of that England team who have taken to the touchline.

GARY NEVILLE

The first on this list is close to the least successful, with Neville sacked after just four months in charge at Valencia, returning to his previous role as a television pundit instead.

While just three wins in 16 LaLiga games saw the end of Gary, brother Phil remained at Valencia for a time as an assistant.

PHIL NEVILLE

Phil Neville also had experience with Manchester United, England Under-21s and Salford City by the time he was surprisingly appointed boss of England Women in January 2018.

The younger brother took the Lionesses to the last four at this year's Women's World Cup. Gareth Southgate, who featured sparingly at the start of Eriksson's era, is similarly impressing with the men's team.

SOL CAMPBELL

Former centre-back Campbell was repeatedly frustrated in his initial attempts to move into management, describing attitudes towards giving black players their first chance in coaching as "archaic" in 2013.

His opportunity finally arrived last year with Macclesfield Town, then bottom of the Football League. A superb turnaround saw the side stay up on the final day. "It's definitely up there with the things I've achieved in football," he said.

STEVEN GERRARD

While Campbell was made to wait for a lowly senior job, ex-colleague Gerrard went in at the top with one of Scotland's biggest clubs, taking over at Rangers at the start of last season.

Having left the Liverpool academy to take the post, Gerrard has a positive impact at Ibrox and led Rangers to their first win over rivals Celtic in six years. He could not prevent the Hoops completing a historic treble-treble, though.

PAUL SCHOLES

Definitely not a success. Scholes' stint at boyhood club Oldham Athletic made Gary Neville's Valencia stretch look steady, with the former midfielder gone after just 31 days.

It was Scholes' decision to quit, as he explained: "It unfortunately became clear that I would not be able to operate as I intended and was led to believe prior to taking on the role."

FRANK LAMPARD

Chelsea favourite Lampard has the potential to be the biggest success of all, having been handed the reigns at Stamford Bridge ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Lampard led Derby to within a whisker of promotion in the play-off final, earning a chance at Chelsea as they prepare for a tough campaign impacted by a transfer ban. His Derby departure allowed for Phillip Cocu to come in and bring in Rooney.

THE REST...

It might only be a matter of time before John Terry has a senior role. He is an assistant at Aston Villa and was linked to the Middlesbrough job, which instead went to former team-mate and fellow rookie Jonathan Woodgate .

Meanwhile, at Manchester United, both Nicky Butt and Michael Carrick form part of the coaching staff.

David James operated as a player-coach at IBV, had a short stint at Luton Town and then took over at Kerala Blasters while continuing in goal. James then returned to the Indian side in 2018 but was sacked after an 11-match winless run.

Darius Vassell has a role at Wolves, Joe Cole is at Chelsea, and Kieron Dyer is part of the Ipswich Town set-up.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.