EPL

'He's an example to everyone' - Matic proud to have played with Ronaldo as he prepares for Man Utd exit

By Sports Desk May 20, 2022

Nemanja Matic hailed Cristiano Ronaldo as "an example to everyone" and a "winner", as the midfielder prepares to make his final Manchester United appearance on the final day of the season.

Having joined United from Chelsea in 2017, Matic will depart Old Trafford as a free agent after the Red Devils travel to Crystal Palace for their final Premier League outing of the campaign on Sunday.

Matic has made 23 league appearances for United this term, although the Red Devils can only finish as high as sixth after enduring a frustrating campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick. 

The form of Ronaldo has been one positive during United's underwhelming season, with the Portuguese legend scoring 18 goals in 30 league appearances since returning to Old Trafford at the start of the campaign.

As he prepares to play his final game for United, Matic told the club's official media channels he was proud to have been able to share a dressing room with Ronaldo, hailing the striker's influence.

"He's a fantastic player. He's an example to everyone, an example to young guys," he said of the 37-year-old. 

"It's very important for them to see how he behaves every day and how he approaches the games and the training sessions. He's a winner. 

"He's a great character and a very nice man outside of the pitch. I'm very pleased I had the opportunity to share the dressing room with him."

Ronaldo's 18 Premier League goals this season make it his second-most prolific campaign in the competition, after he scored 31 times in 2007-08. However, just four of Ronaldo's league goals have come away from home this season ahead of Sunday's trip to Selhurst Park.

Meanwhile, among all players to have scored 100 or more goals in Premier League history, Ronaldo has netted the highest percentage of his strikes in home games (70 per cent, 71/102).

Matic, meanwhile, says he is yet to decide on his next move, and has refused to rule out a move abroad after spending over eight years in the Premier League with Chelsea and United.

"I haven't decided yet. Let's finish the season and in June probably I will decide my future. But nothing is decided yet," he added. "All options are open for me and let's see." 

With United already looking ahead of the imminent arrival of Ajax coach Erik ten Hag, the 33-year-old also reassured Red Devils fans that the future at Old Trafford was bright, thanking them for their support during a difficult era at the club.

"I just want to say thank you for the fantastic support. I know that we had a couple of difficult seasons, but I just want them to know that us at the training ground, we're doing our best and United will come back, for sure," he added.

"It's going to take some time, but United will be back and just keep supporting the team. Stay together."

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