Kleberson says Man United should sign new Ronaldo – Goncalo Ramos

Manchester United

Updated: 30/01/2023

Kleberson says Man United should sign ‘the new Ronaldo' & reveals how Fergie learnt Portuguese to help him settle in Manchester

World Cup winner snubs former club in top four prediction

Kleberson exclusively told Ladbrokes:

“Man United need a guaranteed goalscorer. Goncalo Ramos, the Portuguese kid, can be that guy. He's really young, but he's already shown us what he's capable of, on the biggest stage of all at the World Cup, scoring a hat-trick against Switzerland. The way he plays, and how he moves and interacts with his teammates… he could be their new Cristiano Ronaldo.”

“Once I settled into training at Carrington, I noticed he [Sir Alex Ferguson] was trying to learn Portuguese, to help me feel more comfortable. So he'd learn all of the weekdays and times in Portuguese, which I thought was really good of him. He knew what his players needed at all times, he was an incredible mentor.”

“I think it's going to be really difficult for Manchester United to be there by the end of the season. I'm putting Manchester City and Arsenal in there for the top four, of course. I think Newcastle have a great chance, especially with the investment and the financial backing they have – I really think they can get there. I know they haven't been amazing up to this point, but I think Chelsea could sneak in there, too.”

“When I arrived at the airport in Turkey ahead of my move to Besiktas… it was just insane; I'd never experienced anything like it. As soon as I walked out of the doors, I was swarmed, fans picked me up and carried me to my car, passing me over to each other while I'm in the air. I lost my bag, I lost my phone, I couldn't believe it!”

“I remember we had one huge game against Fenerbahce, and as we're leaving our training complex after a meeting, I walk over to the bus and take my seat. Then I saw a sheep in the middle of a crowd of people. What was happening?! The next thing I know, there's a guy holding the sheep's head up, and he slits its throat, then these guys just start rubbing the blood into their faces.”

“It's funny when you look at that photo of myself and Cristiano Ronaldo, both signing for Manchester United on the same day. Believe it or not, at that moment in time, I was the top signing out of the two of us, as a World Cup winner. Cristiano was just a young boy at that time, he was someone they had high hopes for in the future.”

Goncalo Ramos can be Man United's ‘new Ronaldo'

There are so many impressive young players who Manchester United could and should be looking at in the next transfer window, especially as they continue to figure out what their strongest starting line-up looks like. They still need to find the perfect way they want to play, because since Sir Alex Ferguson left, they've struggled with their identity. Under Ferguson, you knew exactly what you were getting, and the spine of his team was so important; a solid centre-back, a tough midfielder and a goalscorer.

In my opinion, it's that last area where they need to strengthen; they need someone who can come in and get goals. Even if it takes that player a little while to get used to whatever system the manager wants to play, they need a guaranteed goalscorer.

Goncalo Ramos, the Portuguese kid, can be that guy. He's really young, but he's already shown us what he's capable of, on the biggest stage of all at the World Cup, scoring a hat-trick against Switzerland. The way he plays, and how he moves and interacts with his teammates… he could be their new Cristiano Ronaldo. A move to United would be a good thing for him.

Fergie learnt Portuguese to help me feel comfortable at Man United

 

The first time I spoke with Alex Ferguson was before I signed for Manchester United, when I came to visit Old Trafford. I had a quick meeting with him where he just welcomed me to the club, he told me what he expected of me, and explained how he could help me improve.

 

After that, once I settled into training at Carrington, I noticed he was trying to learn Portuguese, to help me feel more comfortable. So he'd learn all of the weekdays and times in Portuguese, which I thought was really good of him. It's such a funny moment to think about, because he's one of the biggest managers in world football and he's taking the time to learn the languages of his players – he's an amazing manager. He knew what his players needed at all times, he was an incredible mentor.

 

I can't say I ever truly felt Ferguson's wrath, but that's mainly because my English was terrible! He was always very calm in the week during our training sessions, but he could get so angry at half-time in games, especially if we weren't playing well. It's funny because often I would hear him shouting in the dressing room, but I never really knew what he was saying, and then I'd just hear my name – so all of a sudden I'm waiting for him to stop so I can go and ask Quinton [Fortune] to translate for me!

 

He really tried to make me comfortable at the club, even up until my last day. We had a conversation where he explained to me how sometimes players move to new countries and join up with new teammates and just fit in straight away; they have no problem adapting. And then some players take a little longer, and sometimes it just doesn't quite work out, but it's a part of life. It's nothing against you as a player, sometimes you just need to be in a new environment and experience different things. That was how he saw me. He told me I was a good player and that I would be moving on, but that I had a great opportunity to go and prove myself with another team.

 

“But your name will never be erased from our history; no one will take that away from you.”

 

Man United won't make top four… Newcastle & Chelsea will

There are so many teams up there competing for the top four spots… I think it's going to be really difficult for Manchester United to be there by the end of the season. So much has happened already this season, on and off the pitch, and now Cristiano Ronaldo has moved on. Bruno Fernandes did really well at the World Cup, but I don't think he's enough to take them into fourth.

 

So, I'm putting Manchester City and Arsenal in there for the top four, of course. I think Newcastle have a great chance, especially with the investment and the financial backing they have – I really think they can get there. I know they haven't been amazing up to this point, but I think Chelsea could sneak in there, too. I'm really curious to see how teams are going to get on after the World Cup, because this is something we've never experienced before. But those would be my four: City, Arsenal, Newcastle and Chelsea.

 

It'll be between City and Arsenal, for sure, for the title. When we come to the end of the season, where there's so much to play for, that's where I think City will better Arsenal; I just think they have that experience and know how to win vital games. As for Arsenal, they're going to come up against teams week-in, week-out with so much to play for, and I'm not sure that young side is capable of sustaining these current levels. Their best chance of winning the title is by making that gap between themselves and City as wide as possible right now, because if it goes down to the wire, I'd say City will do it.

Moving to Turkey was crazy… within minutes I'd lost my phone and bag, I saw sheep being sacrificed by Besiktas fans

 

When I arrived at the airport in Turkey ahead of my move to Besiktas… it was just insane; I'd never experienced anything like it. As soon as I walked out of the doors, I was hit with this roar from the supporters. Immediately I was swarmed, fans picked me up and carried me to my car, passing me over to each other while I'm in the air. I lost my bag, I lost my phone, I couldn't believe it!

 

My father-in-law and my agent were with me, but they couldn't do anything! I eventually made it to the car which was waiting to pick me up, and even with the doors shut, I could still hear these supporters screaming my name. I looked at my father-in-law and my agent, I just said “guys, I've lost my cell phone, I've lost my bag… I don't know what to do!”

 

We get to the hotel, but by that time, people had found out where I was staying, so they're standing outside the hotel and continued to cheer for me. I really liked it out in Turkey; the fans are crazy but they supported me a lot, and they're just so passionate. No matter what city you travelled to, you're surrounded by your fans at airports.

 

I remember we had one huge game against Fenerbahce, and as we're leaving our training complex after a meeting, I walk over to the bus and take my seat. Then I saw a sheep in the middle of a crowd of people. What was happening?! The next thing I know, there's a guy holding the sheep's head up, and he slits its throat, then these guys just start rubbing the blood into their faces. I'm just looking around saying “what the heck is happening here?!” That's the culture out there, though; it's a ritual of theirs. My gosh, it was crazy.

 

My biggest regret? I shouldn't have left Man United so soon

 

It's difficult to say I had regrets from my time at Manchester United, because I was hit with so many injuries, I never really had the chance to get a good run of games under my belt. One thing I will say, though, is that I think I should have stayed for another year. We had our pre-season in China and I was getting game time, I was feeling more and more fierce, I'd changed my style of play, I was getting stronger in my tackles and feeling like a Premier League player.

 

I moved to Turkey, though – and I look back now and think it was the wrong decision. I should have tried to stick it out at United, or at least go out on loan, so I could come back to United.

 

Things went wrong for me at United because of my injuries; it wasn't anything to do with my quality.

 

It's funny when you look at that photo of myself and Cristiano Ronaldo, both signing for Manchester United on the same day. Believe it or not, at that moment in time, I was the top signing out of the two of us, as a World Cup winner. Cristiano was just a young boy at that time, he was someone they had high hopes for in the future.

 

I was the first Brazilian to play for Man United, which was a very proud moment for me – I'll never forget that day. I had two dreams as a kid: to win the World Cup and to play for a big team in a big league, and by the time I was 24 I had achieved both of those.

 

That settling in period is really tough for new players, especially when you're moving to a new country. My wife and I were both still young, she was pregnant and we were moving away from everything we had grown up around in Brazil, to a completely different environment. Obviously, at the time, Manchester didn't have much in the way of Brazilian restaurants or supermarkets, so everything was new to us. We ended up eating a lot of fish and chips! Neither of us could cook at that point, so everything was difficult for us at first.

 

But we ended up meeting some Brazilian friends in Manchester, and they helped us so much when it came to learning the British culture and all of that kind of thing. I spoke a lot to Cristiano [Ronaldo] because we had that language connection, but Quinton Fortune, Diego Forlan, and even some of the English-speaking guys like Tim Howard and Rio Ferdinand were really good with me. They understood I was in a really difficult position and they looked after me.

 

I struggled quite a bit in those early weeks and months, not only because I was trying to learn this whole new style of play, but because I was constantly picking up injuries which were preventing me from having a run of games. It felt like it took me so long to get back on the pitch, playing again, and then when I was fit, I had to start competing against these huge names like Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and young kids like Darren Fletcher. It was really difficult to deal with the injuries and then compete for a starting place with those guys.

 

But my wife and I – overall – had a great time; we have so many special memories in Manchester. We actually miss it, and we'll sometimes talk about living in England again.

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