Will have to thank Rangers icon Walter Smith for learning to pass Manchester United hero Cristiano Ronaldo, says Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson recalled how Walter Smith was the man who taught Cristiano Ronaldo to pass the ball.

The former Manchester United manager spoke at a memorial service for the former Rangers, Everton and Scotland manager.


Smith and Ferguson have turned the clock back, with the Scottish giants working with the national team and at Manchester United

Smith tragically passed away last month at the age of 73 after a three-year battle with cancer.

Many from the football world attended a service to pay tribute at Glasgow Cathedral.

Ferguson recalled how he first noticed Smith’s coaching skills during a class at Large’s in 1972.

“The imagination, the mastery of the session, he was sure to get there,” said the former Rangers player.

Walter Smith won 21 trophies with Rangers

Smith began his coaching career with Dundee United and Ferguson explained that he had failed to move Smith away from Jim McLean. But after that he briefly appointed Smith as an assistant to Scotland and Manchester United.

Ferguson described how Smith refereeed practice matches and would take a loose approach to the challenges of Ronaldo, who “came up with all the tricks in the world and wanted to beat all the players.”

“He turned to me and said ‘Boss, isn’t there a fault in Scotland?’ And he learned. He’s learned to pass the ball and he can thank Walter for that. No question.”

Ronaldo has to thank Smith for teaching him to pass

Ronaldo has to thank Smith for teaching him to pass

In essence, Ferguson borrowed a phrase previously used by Smith’s younger brother, Ian.

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“I was looking for a word that sums up this guy and it’s definitely huge,” he said.

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