'You need to show Ronaldo respect'
Dimitar Berbatov believes what Cristiano Ronaldo is continuing to produce in a Manchester United shirt is worthy of the greatest respect.
The pair were colleagues at Manchester United in the Portugal international's final season at the club (2008/09) before joining Real Madrid. However, the no.7's sensational return to Old Trafford has enabled him to show he is still among the world's best players, at the age of 37.
This does not come as a surprise to Berbatov, who saw the forward's professionalism and drive first hand, and, with Ronaldo scoring again, from the spot in the 3-0 win over Brentford, he is clearly ending the campaign in top form.
In an exclusive chat ahead of the Bulgarian's own return to the Theatre of Dreams for the Legends of the North game with Liverpool on 21 May, it was obvious he felt Ronaldo deserves the plaudits for what he has achieved this term.
“To be honest, I’m not surprised," Berbatov told us. "I just had the pleasure of playing one year with him, which was a short period, but I saw how he prepared himself when he was at United. And then I followed him up into his career and it’s not surprising to see him play like this.
“I am sure if he continues taking care of himself, like he is doing now, he can play for another three or four years for sure. Yes, time is waiting for no-one and, with time, some of your qualities are getting less but then you need to be smart and adjust your way of playing football.
"You can still be good and Ronaldo is a case of this, 18 goals at 37 years of age, in the best league in the world, come on! You need to show the respect there.”
Ronaldo will be hoping to add to his tally of 24 in all competitions in Saturday's penultimate Premier League fixture with Brighton & Hove Albion (17:30 BST kick-off).
Order your tickets for the Legends of the North game at Old Trafford on 21 May, featuring former stars from both United and Liverpool.