April 9th, 2009
07:08 PM ET

Ronaldo pass lines up interview with a legend

MANCHESTER, England - I had tried, and failed, for two long years to get an interview with Sir Alex Ferguson and when it finally happened this week, I can honestly say it was worth the wait.

Alex Ferguson is very particular about who he speaks with since he doesn't trust many people in the media.
Alex Ferguson is very particular about who he speaks with since he doesn't trust many people in the media.

It was actually thanks to my good relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo that I got through to Sir Alex. My compatriot put in a good word for me with the manager and the press office, and that allowed us to finally get a chance to sit down with Fergie.

CNN always tries to get the top names in every sport, and we have been fortunate to secure interviews with most of the high profile figures in the sporting world - but Ferguson had always eluded us.

He is very particular about who he speaks with since he doesn't trust a lot of people in the media. Here in England, the tabloid press is tough to deal with because they are preoccupied with selling the story rather than telling it, and Sir Alex told me that it is a concern he has.

Fortunately, after dealing with Cristiano and Diana Law in the press office a few times, I was able to build some trust with the club and that's why this interview took place.

I have to say that I was surprised with how personable and affable Sir Alex was during the interview.

You hear all these stories about how he is tough and cold and many people make him out to be a tyrant. However, he was charming during the interview and talked freely about a variety of subjects.

You can tell he has a strong personality and doesn't put up with any insolence, but any great leader needs to have that quality. Furthermore, in today's world of millionaire footballers, he knows he needs to maintain his distance and hold everyone's respect.

Overall, I was very pleased with the interview and the 20 minutes we had with Ferguson flew by. He's got so many great stories to tell that you never lose interest in what he's saying.

At 67, he may be a veteran, but he has certainly adapted to the times and clearly is modern and contemporary enough to hold the interest and attention of his players.

Ferguson told me he feels he's got another two or three years at Old Trafford before retiring, and his top priority is winning another European Cup. That would be his third, and judging by the last two victories, we should expect it to be a dramatic one.

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