Cantona: Ronaldo needs to be more like Zlatan

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

Manchester United icon Eric Cantona has insisted that Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo should be more like AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and accept he is no longer 25 years old.

Ronaldo is drawing closer to making his first official appearance for his new club Al Nassr, with reports suggesting he will be eligible to play in the team's Saudi Pro League tie against Al Ettifaq on Sunday after serving a two-match suspension for breaking a fan's phone at a Premier League game against Everton in April last year.

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The 37-year-old has insisted he is relishing the challenge of playing outside Europe for the first time in his trophy-laden career, which consisted of successful spells in Portugal, England, Spain, and Italy.

However, United legend Cantona believes the five-time Ballon d'Or winner should behave more like the likes of Ibrahimovic, who remain at top teams helping younger players develop instead of taking the spotlight.

Speaking to, he said: "There are two types of veterans: those who want to play every game because they still think they're 25 and those who realise they're not 25 and are here to help young players, they know they won't play every game, but they're aware that they'll have their moment.

"There are players who help new players: Ibrahimovic still does it with Milan, Ryan Giggs [at United] or Maldini himself when he was at [AC] Milan.

"Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't realise he's not 25 years old. He's already older and doesn't know that.

"Instead of being unhappy about not having played all the time, he should accept the situation."

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With Cantona having retired relatively early at the age of just 30, he also stated that he understands how difficult it is for a player to accept that they are no longer at the peak of their powers.

"It's like everything in the world, you have people who accept they are older. You have to accept it. In everything we do. Not only in football. In everything," he added.

"I cannot run as fast as when I was 30 years old, I have to accept it. I have to accept I will die someday. It's difficult to accept it but we have to. And the end of a career is like dying. It's a little death. 

"You have to start another thing. And before you die, you're getting old and you have to accept you are getting old. You cannot do the things you do.

"You can sing until you're 80 years old, you can act until you're 80 years old, but footballers or sportsmen know that after 30 years old, 33 years old, it becomes physically more difficult every day. 

"You have to accept that, or you retire, or you say I will help the young generation."

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