LONDON: Manchester United winger Jesse Lingard likened Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo to NBA legend Michael Jordan, who won several team and personal honours during his time with Chicago Bulls.
Ronaldo, 35, is still going strong and recently led Juventus to their ninth successive Serie A title. His goal-scoring feat has been off the charts in Italy, similar to what he did with Manchester United in England and Real Madrid in Spain.
Ahead of the restart of the 2020 NBA season on Thursday, Lingard compared Ronaldo to Jordan, who won six titles with Chicago between 1991 to 1998 and was also named as finals' MVP in every title-winning campaign.
"I have to say Cristiano Ronaldo," Lingard told Sky Sports. "Everything he has achieved in his career. He has been at plenty of clubs and won many trophies. I believe he is a real icon of football, the Michael Jordan of football."
Lingard also jogged down memory lane and spoke about his meeting with Ronaldo at Old Trafford while he was in the club's youth academy and the latter was strutting his stuff in Premier League, week in and week out.
"When [Ronaldo] first came to Manchester United, I was 11 or 12. We did a skills DVD and it was him teaching us skills which was good. That was the first time I had seen him. He was young and skinny when he came [to the club]," Lingard said.
"I have played against him a few times. Did he give me trouble? No, he wasn't too bad, to be fair! There was one game in pre-season where he came on and you could see the skills and the qualities that he brought," he added.
Lingard recently scored in Manchester United's 2-0 win over Leicester City that helped them finish third in the Premier League. Also, they sealed a spot in next season's Champions League along with champions Liverpool, second-placed Manchester City and Chelsea, who finished fourth.