Ferguson snapped up Ronaldo from Sporting in 2003

Cristiano Ronaldo has lifted the lid on when moment that Sir Alex Ferguson told him that he wanted to sign him at Manchester United .

The Red Devils snapped up the 18-year-old Ronaldo from Sporting Lisbon in a £12.24million move shortly after he impressed for the Portuguese side in a pre-season friendly against United.

The fee was an English transfer record for a teenager, and Ronaldo has been reminiscing about the moment Ferguson first showed his hand.

"The first game that I played against Manchester United was an unbelievable game. It was the perfect night, the perfect night," Ronaldo told Sky Sports .

"After the game some of my team-mates said: ‘Listen, you’re going to go to Manchester, trust me!’

Ronaldo dazzled United in a 2003 pre-season friendly

"Sir Alex Ferguson was there, and [they said] he wants to speak with you. I go to the dressing room, he introduced me to the players.

"For me, I was a little bit shy. And Sir Alex Ferguson said to me: ‘Listen, I want you now.’

"Everything came so fast, and two days after I speak to the coach and they take me to England, and I was in Manchester, and I signed."

Ronaldo was unveiled alongside Kleberson in 2003

Ronaldo would go on to more than repay the faith that Ferguson placed in him, going on to win three Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups and a Champions League at Old Trafford before departing to Real Madrid in 2009 for a world record £80million transfer fee.

But it was that night in Lisbon in 2003 that stuck in the mind of the United squad, with Gary Neville also recalling how impressed he was by the teenager .

Ronaldo emerged as one of the best players in the world under Ferguson

"I’ll never forget that game against Sporting Lisbon and the chat among the players when they got back to Manchester. Poor Sheasy [John O’Shea] was the butt of a lot of jokes for being given a run-around.

"But I have to be honest, I felt for him.

"If I’d been playing that night he’d have done the same to me."

Ronaldo signed a new deal with Real Madrid this week, which will run until 2021 and net him £400,000-a-week after tax.