CRISTIANO RONALDO texted Rio Ferdinand 'I didn't play well, but I knew I'd score' after last night's last-gasp win over Villarreal.
The Portuguese forward had endured an off night on his Champions League return to Old Trafford.
But he would have the last laugh, prodding home a crucial winner deep into stoppage time.
After the match, an elated Ferdinand revealed what his old pal Ronaldo texted him in the immediate aftermath.
The BT Sport pundit said: "He (Ronaldo) text me tonight saying 'I didn't play well but I knew I'd score'.
"That's the belief that he has. The other players are feeding off it. It's a great place to be."
Ferdinand, 42, went on to admit that the Red Devils weren't at their sparkling best, but with Cristiano in tow there is always 'belief'.
He added: "United's performance today wasn't great, it wasn't at the level Ole wants it to be. But when you need a goal, a moment to galvanise the squad, the stadium, the fanbase, Cristiano Ronaldo steps up.
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"He wants to be that guy the chance falls to. His goal record says it all. He's there for the big moments. He's a big part of that too.
"When you have a player like Cristiano Ronaldo, the players in the dressing room are given life. There's a lease of life, belief, because they know if the chance comes, he will put them away.
"It gives you that ability to be relaxed. It was the biggest thing in our team. When you get under even more pressure and you can see the clock ticking, you don't panic.
"We were very composed because we believed the chances would come."
Despite hints of offside, Ronaldo's effort last night set a new record as Man United's latest ever Champions League goal – overtaking his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the process.
He is so good in front of goal and has an impact on everyone – the crowd, the players the whole club
Not that the Norwegian cared a jot, beaming: "When you have Cristiano on the pitch you always have a chance.
"He is so good in front of goal and has an impact on everyone – the crowd, the players the whole club.
"He's done that so many times. When you saw him (for Portugal) against Ireland a month ago, he missed a penalty early and didn't touch the ball more or less, but scored two great headers in the last few minutes.
"That's what he's done throughout his career. He stays in the game. I've seen him all day, the way he's built up for this game and when he gets that one chance it's a goal.
"He had a couple of half chances but a true mark of a great finisher that he keeps calm when the chance arrives."
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