Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United continues to be covered everywhere, and it’s no different in Brazil.

ESPN Brasil today features an interview with Fabio da Silva, who started his professional career at the Red Devils at a time when the Portuguese star was shining at the club.

The fullback claims he had big assistance from Ronaldo in his early days, as speaking the same language was crucial for them to build a friendship.

“Ronaldo helped me a lot there,” Fabio told ESPN Brasil.

“I didn’t speak English at all, or practically nothing. Not even ‘water’. He helped me and my brother a lot. I’m very grateful to him. My first game, I don’t forget, against Tottenham, I was 18 years old. I have a photo with him to this day.

“Before the game, he came to me, hugged me and said: ‘From the middle to the front, you can do whatever you want. From the middle to the back, don’t try to do anything, because you might lose the ball and I can’t get it back for you’. Those were the words he used.”

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Fabio da Silva’s personal experience with Ronaldo is the reason he thinks it was a good move from Manchester United to bring the Portuguese player back after 12 years.

“It shows how much he helps and will help young people at Manchester United. That’s why I thought his signing was super right. Young people seeing the 36-year-old guy, working, running, for everything he’s achieved.”

The fullback also talked about other inspirations he had at Manchester United at that time.

“When I got there, I saw Scholes, Neville, Giggs, Ferdinand, I saw everyone running around and doing everything. That really took me for the rest of my career. This is important for the rest of careers and it helped a lot in mine.”

Fabio joined Manchester United along with his brother Rafael in a move from Fluminense back in 2008, and made 56 appearances for the club. He now plays for French side Nantes, but already claimed he has plans to move to his childhood club Botafogo, where his twin arrived last month.