Louis Saha and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Saha: Why Ronaldo was already a genius at 18

Louis Saha has claimed Cristiano Ronaldo’s dedication and mentality are the driving forces behind his incredibly successful career.

Our former striker was team-mates with the current Juventus star between 2004 and 2008 and, in that time, he saw Cristiano develop from a promising teenager into one of football’s greatest-ever players.

Ronaldo has achieved some outstanding personal milestones at United, Real Madrid, Juventus and with Portugal, including winning the Ballon d’Or on five occasions, picking up five Champions League winners’ medals and six league titles, as well as guiding his national team to success at Euro 2016.

Saha is not surprised his old colleague has accomplished so much in the game as, even at 18, his attitude was faultless.

Why Saha got the hairdryer treatmentVideo

“He always improved but I would say that his ways never changed [as a person],”
the Frenchman said on the latest MUTV Group Chat. 

“Throughout his career, you see the same dedication that he had when he was 18, maybe with less confidence as people were challenging him, and he had to prove that he was the best player.

“But to have that type of confidence to train, to work hard and to be consistent, no matter what people say, that was just an amazing skill. It was better than having talent because the way he was able to analyse, at that age, and grow and maintain those qualities - for me, it was genius.
“You ask anybody - working hard when you have that much talent, not everybody does this. You can get complacent or happy with your level and you think you have made it. But he wanted it way more.

“To have the vision to see something way more, when you’re already at United, at his age, it’s really hard. He managed to do that and that’s why I respected him so much.”


Cristiano has never been the shy and retiring type and Louis reflected that even during his first years at United, the Portuguese star was more than happy to voice his opinions.

“Even though he was younger than me, I remember he said to me: ‘Louis you need to smile more when you play’. When the kids say that to you, when you’re older and have more experience, you say: ‘Hang on a minute’. But I realised it was so true,”
Saha explained.

Top 10: Saha goalsVideo

“During his career, he could be cheeky in the way that he spoke to people, and people just could not understand and got frustrated because they were not in his league. He’s so above everybody that, when he speaks normally, it sounds strange for everybody. It’s amazing.

“His power and speed… the skills were one thing that are important in a career, but analysing when to do it - the timing and the precision - nobody can do that.”


We'll have a new episode of MUTV Group Chat at 16:00 BST, every day from Monday to Friday. You can watch them all on our United at Home page.

Recommended: