Nemanja Matic has hailed Cristiano Ronaldo as ‘an example for everyone’ and a ‘winner’ as the midfielder prepares to make his final appearance for Manchester United on the final day of the season.
Having joined United from Chelsea in 2017, Matic will leave Old Trafford as a free agent following the Red Devils’ trip to Crystal Palace for their final Premier League outing of the campaign on Sunday.
Matic has made 23 league appearances for United this season, although the Red Devils could only finish sixth after enduring a frustrating campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.
Ronaldo’s form has been a positive during United’s disappointing season, with the Portuguese legend scoring 18 goals in 30 league appearances since returning to Old Trafford at the start of the campaign.
As he prepares to play his last game for United, Matic told the club’s official media that he was proud to have been able to share a dressing room with Ronaldo, hailing the striker’s influence.
“He’s a fantastic player. He’s an example for everyone, an example for young people,” he said of the 37-year-old.
“It’s very important for them to see how he behaves on a daily basis and how he approaches games and training. He’s a winner.
“He’s a great character and a very nice man off the pitch. I’m very happy to have had the opportunity to share the dressing room with him.”
Ronaldo’s 18 Premier League goals this season make it his second most prolific campaign in the competition, having netted 31 times in 2007-08. However, only four of Ronaldo’s league goals have come away this season ahead of Sunday’s trip to Selhurst Park.
Meanwhile, of all players to score 100 or more goals in Premier League history, Ronaldo has scored the highest percentage of his goals in home games (70%, 71/102).
Matic, meanwhile, says he is yet to decide on his next move and refused to rule out a move abroad after spending more than eight years in the Premier League with Chelsea and United.
“I haven’t decided yet. Let’s finish the season and in June I will probably decide my future. But nothing is decided yet,” he added. “All options are open to me and let’s see.”
With United already anticipating the imminent arrival of Ajax manager Erik ten Hag, the 33-year-old also reassured Red Devils fans that the future at Old Trafford was bright, thanking them for their support during a difficult time at the club.
“I just want to say thank you for the fantastic support. I know we’ve had a tough couple of seasons but I just want them to know that we on the training ground are doing our best and United will come back, of course.” , he added.
“It’s going to take time, but United will be back and will continue to support the team. Stay together.”