The Portuguese star may be being linked with £200million moves and continues to score goals for fun in 2012 but he still had much to prove at that early stage of his career and so did United, with champions Chelsea the team to catch in the Barclays Premier League. Check out some of his thoughts from the exclusive interview.
How confident is the team going into the new season?
We're all very confident and hoping to do much better than last season. We worked very hard during pre-season and I thought, as a team, we played some good matches in difficult conditions during our tour of Asia. Our main objective is to win the Premiership back but I also believe we have a good chance of doing well in the Champions League.
Chelsea have raised the bar on and off the field: will that make things more difficult?
We know it's not going to be easy but it's important that we don't worry about other teams; we must just concentrate on ourselves. We're determined to improve on last season and I'm sure we will. We have a great squad of players and I'm confident we have the ability to challenge Chelsea. Just look at the players we have.
Ji-sung Park's arrival increases competition for a midfield spot. Is that a challenge you relish?
Competition for a places can only be a good thing for the team. We already had some great midfielders, and have another now Park has arrived - I'm sure he's going to do very well. Of course, we all want to play every game but the most important thing is that the team is winning. That's something every player here believes.
When the manager talks about the club's future being in the hands of the young players, he