Sir Alex Ferguson was known for many things during his illustrious 26 year reign at Manchester United, but his ability to psyche out the opposition was one of his greatest assets.
Ferguson often played the most brilliant mind games before, during and after a game, using his almost obsessive attention to detail to get one over players and managers.
Even if that player was a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.
When the former Manchester United man made his highly anticipated return to Old Trafford for the first time since joining Real Madrid, Sir Alex decided to use a number of psychological tricks.
The games had begun even before Ronaldo reached the changing rooms at Old Trafford.
As soon as Ronaldo stepped off the team bus, United’s former kitman Albert Morgan embraced the five-time Balon d’Or winner. Was this Fergie’s plan to get in the head of his former player?
It meant that at the very last second, Ronaldo’s name was called last and predictably, Manchester United fans cheered so loudly that an emotional Cristiano help up his hand and waved to his adoring support.
Seconds later, fans chanted ‘Viva Ronaldo’ as Old Trafford bounced to the sound of their hero’s return.
Some believe this was a ploy from Ferguson to try and get in the head of Ronaldo – to throw him off his game. And it worked – kind of.
The Real Madrid man struggled throughout the game, losing the ball on a number of occasions, but his decisiveness in front of goal gave Los Blancos that all important goal to send them through.
You’ve got to give credit to Ferguson though, his mind games were still very prominent even toward the end of his glittering career.