Ronaldo took special interest in Pellistri before abrupt Man Utd exit

Rashford pays tribute to Ronaldo after Man Utd exit

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Facundo Pellistri is currently in the spotlight after shining for Manchester United in their 1-0 Europa League victory over Real Betis on Thursday night. And his fine showing in Seville came after he’d previously caught the eye of Cristiano Ronaldo. The 21-year-old, who arrived back in 2020 when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was manager, appears to have a bright future ahead of him at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo left United back in November after growing frustrated with life under Erik ten Hag.

The forward believed he was being ‘disrespected’ by the Dutchman by becoming a peripheral figure and decided to air his grievances in a bombshell interview with Piers Morgan.

However, before that interview aired, Pellistri revealed that Ronaldo had been regularly talking to him amid ongoing injury issues.

And that was something he was grateful for.

“What most caught my attention about Cristiano Ronaldo?” he told ESPN at the time.

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“When I saw him I was impressed by him, but yes, he is always one of the first to arrive and one of the last to leave.

“Besides, ‘he’s very human’; As much as he is one of the biggest stars that exist in football and in the world, he is always attentive to everything.

“He always greets me and asks me about my injury, as a person he is incredible, as a player we already know what he is.”

Now, it seems as though Pellistri had a platform to build on.

The United star arrived back in the summer transfer window of 2020, touching down as an alternative to Jadon Sancho – who had been the club’s main target at the time.

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Few had heard of the youngster, with Solskjaer bringing in the Uruguay international following talks with former team-mate Diego Forlan.

Pellistri has had to be patient during his time at Old Trafford.

He hadn’t made his debut for the club until earlier in the season, having spent two mixed years on loan in Spain with Deportivo Alaves.

Yet Pellistri has now started to break into the team and won the praise of Ten Hag for his performance against Real Betis on Thursday.

“Really good actions, really good movement in behind and that was the mark before the game from a tactical approach,” the 53-year-old stated.

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“Defensively, he did his job really well and, all over, I think it was a good performance.

“I think he deserved to come on. I see him progressing and getting stronger.

“He was good when he came in against Leeds and Betis in the home game. He’s got belief and then you see his abilities.

“I’m very pleased with his performance. It was a step up for more but, once again, it is about him – what he can bring and what he can contribute to the team.”

Meanwhile, United legend Paul Scholes also hailed the 21-year-old for his European showing.

“I thought he did alright,” stated the Red Devils icon.

“He’s not played a lot of football but I thought he was quite lively going on the outside.

“A few early crosses I think he overhit possibly, but the team were a little bit like that, to be fair.

“But he was a real threat. I thought he was the one looking to create and be dangerous, hit the post – was a bit unlucky and it would have been nice for him to get his goal there.

“He’s very direct, I don’t think you’ll see any fancy stuff from him. He will be direct, go towards goal and try and cross the balls for forwards in the box, and get shots on goal.

“I thought overall he was alright.”

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