After scoring an incredible 95th-minute victory in the Champions League, Cristiano Ronaldo sent a text message to Rio Ferdinand that illustrates his unshakable self-belief.
After Paco Alcacer put Villarreal ahead and Alex Telles equalized with a stunning strike, Ronaldo, 36, propelled Manchester United to a 2-1 triumph.
The Portugal captain had a quiet game in the heart of the Red Devils’ assault, but he scored another unforgettable goal on the European stage late in extra time. Ronaldo connected with Jesse Lingard in the penalty box before firing past Geronimo Rulli from a tight angle to throw Old Trafford into a frenzy.
His latest moment of magic marked his 12th Champions League goal in the 90th minute or later, pulling him further clear of closest rival Lionel Messi on six.
Ronaldo then texted former teammate Ferdinand after the full-time whistle, admitting he had not had a good game but insists he always knew he would be on the scoresheet.
“He (Ronaldo) text me tonight saying ‘I didn’t’ play well but I knew I’d score,'” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “That’s the belief that he has.”
“The other players are feeding off it. It’s a great place to be,” said the former centre-back of Ronaldo’s infectious self-confidence.
“United’s performance today wasn’t great, it wasn’t at the level Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer) wants it to be. But when you need a goal, a moment to galvanise the squad, the stadium, the fanbase, Cristiano Ronaldo steps up.
“He wants to be that guy the chance falls to. His goal record says it all. He’s there for the big moments. He’s a big part of that too.”
“When you have a player like Cristiano Ronaldo, the players in the dressing room are given life. There’s a lease of life, belief, because they know if the chance comes, he will put them away.
“It gives you that ability to be relaxed. It was the biggest thing in our team.
“When you get under even more pressure and you can see the clock ticking, you don’t panic. We were very composed because we believed the chances would come.”
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