Hannibal explains Cristiano's guidance

Tuesday 29 March 2022 14:16

Young Manchester United midfielder Hannibal has outlined how Cristiano Ronaldo’s guidance has helped him since becoming a regular member of the first-team training squad.

The 19-year-old joined United in 2019 from AS Monaco, and has since progressed through the club’s Under-18 and Under-23 teams. He has enjoyed a prolific last 12 months, being named Denzil Haroun U23s Player of the Year last March, making his first team debut against Wolves in May, and then proudly earning senior international honours with Tunisia from the summer onwards.

Last week, he was one of two United teenagers named on Goal’s NXGN list, which celebrates the best players born on or after 1 January 2003. Shola Shoretire was the other young Red to be featured. Both he and Hannibal have regularly trained with the first team over the last year, meaning they’ve had the opportunity to learn from United’s many talented senior players, one of whom, of course, is Cristiano Ronaldo.

United pair among world's top teenagers


Find out where Hannibal and Shoretire rank in Goal's NXGN list, and who the best talent is for 2022.

“I rub shoulders with the person who has worked the hardest in the world of football: Cristiano Ronaldo,” Hannibal said, in an interview with Onze Mundial.

“I can only learn from him. Cristiano is at the very, very highest level. You can feel the experience he has. When it is necessary to score the winning goal, he will score it. He is always there when you need him. Live, it’s very impressive. Facing the goal, it’s incredible.

“He’s a great team-mate. If you need advice, he’ll be available, as you can ask advice from everyone at United. I’ve been watching him on TV since I was little, so I don’t really know how to talk to him! But being with him is special. I train with one of the greatest players in football history, so I learn all the time. I watch everything he does. I do just like him.

“When you see him on a daily basis, you realise that there is only that for him: work. He does whatever is good for his body. One day it was sunny in Manchester. I watched him and saw that he was sunbathing shirtless. I said to him, ‘Why are you doing this?’ He replied: ‘Because it's good, there are vitamins.’

Hannibal in training with Ronaldo earlier this season.

“Since that day, I always put myself in the sun. I also look at his meals and I try to have the same thing on my plate. He’s a good example for the whole group.”

Hannibal is currently away with Tunisia, who are seeking FIFA World Cup qualification as they play a two-legged play-off against Mali. It’s another competitive environment in which he’ll learn, like the one he has experienced at United in first-team training.