Cristiano Ronaldo says it will be a “special” moment when he returns to face Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League.
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The Real Madrid forward spent seven years at the Portuguese club between 1997 and 2003 as he came through the youth ranks before joining Manchester United in a deal worth more than £12m.
He is currently in the Portuguese capital training with the national squad and will be back in Lisbon on November 22 for a Champions League clash, which he says will be “amazing”.
“It’s always special to be back,” he told Sky Sports at Wednesday’s #CR7Live event in Lisbon.
“I remember going back to Old Trafford two or three years ago and now to go back to Sporting Lisbon, who was the team who created me from 11 to 18 years old.
“It’s always a pleasure to be back and see my old stadium and my old friends.
“It will be amazing, but of course I have to defend my colours and I want to win the game. We need to win, too.”.
Ronaldo was born on the island of Madeira and played for local sides Andorinha and Nacional in his early years before being snapped up by Sporting at the age of 11.
And while he says it was difficult in his early years, he now has great memories of both the club and the city.
“It was a crucial moment in my career,” he said.
“This is where everything started at Sporting Lisbon so it’s great to be back in Portugal and in Lisbon, which is my second city. It was great memories.
“It was a tough moment in my career when I moved from Madeira where I was with my family, to Lisbon when I was 11 years old.
“That was the most difficult time in my career.”.
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Ronaldo has gone on to be recognised as one of the world’s greatest players and this week signed a new deal that keeps him at Real Madrid until 2021, as well as a new contract with sponsors Nike.
“It is a fantastic moment for me,” he added.
“I signed a few days ago a new deal with Real Madrid and now I signed a new deal for Nike.
“It’s a great week and I’m so proud and so happy to do it. It’s a huge contract in my career so I’m really glad.”.