By 90Min
October 20, 2017

Former Sporting CP coach Laszlo Boloni, the man who was responsible for handing a teenage Cristiano Ronaldo his debut in professional football, has explained exactly why he believes the Portuguese superstar must remain at Real Madrid for the rest of his career.

Ronaldo has a contract at Real until June 2021, by which time he will be 36. However, if he chooses to leave the Bernabeu at that stage or sooner, Boloni doesn't want to see his former protégé drop down to a lower level just to prolong his career.

"I hope that Ronaldo never decides towards the end of his career to drop back down to a level he hasn't played at for a very, very long time - a level which, with no disrespect to any teams, could only cause him harm," the Romanian coach told FIFA.com.

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"I think he should, and will, finish his career at Real Madrid."

Boloni, who now manages in Belgium with Royal Antwerp, made a key decision as he was preparing Ronaldo for his debut back in 2002 - and that was to use the youngster as a winger, rather than the striker that he had been at youth team level.

"He played as a centre-forward at the time, but I moved him out to the wing because coming up against two 90kg centre-backs would have been a little too much for a boy of 16 or 17," ex-Steaua Bucharest player Boloni recalled.

"Plus, he was better able to exploit his qualities out wide, without losing his effectiveness. To my huge satisfaction, Alex Ferguson did the same thing when Cristiano joined Manchester United.

"Today, he's free to go where he wants, but at the time I felt that changing his position was the best thing to do."

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