Fergie tells Ronaldo to cut down on training
Sir Alex Ferguson has ordered Cristiano Ronaldo to cut back on his practice to prevent the PFA Player of the Year burning himself out.
Ronaldo, who was last night became the first man in 30 years to win both the main prize and the young player award from his peers, is a key figure in Manchester United's treble bid.
With so many defenders injured, and both Park Ji-sung and Louis Saha sidelined as well, there will be even more pressure on the 22-year-old to deliver over the final weeks of the campaign.
And Ferguson is anxious the winger does not extend himself too much on the training ground.
'You have to drag Cristiano off the training pitch sometimes because he likes to practice so much,' said Ferguson.
'It is part of his but maybe he overdid it a little last week.
'We are trying to preserve his energies for the important games, so we are going to have to cut back on his practice.
'He really has been carrying the banner for us for a long time now but we are really down on players now so there is a big onus on the boy.'
Although Ronaldo has been below par in United's last two games by his own high standards, his confidence should be be boosted by the two goals he scored in the seven-goal rout of Roma in the last round.
His performance that night in particular drew comparisons with legends such as Pele and Diego Maradona from team-mate Patrice Evra.
At the time, Ferguson did little to dissuade anyone from the view he could reach that standard, although the Scot now admits it is slightly over the top.
'Cristiano has this new publicity comparing him with Pele and Maradona. Of course it is ridiculous because he is only 22,'said Ferguson.
'He has a lot to go before he can be considered at that level. He has to play consistently in European games and also World Cup games before you can judge how great he is.
'But that is all in front of him.
'At this moment he is the best player in the world and I don't say that lightly because there are so many fantastic players around.
'His season has been incredible, 21 goals from a winger is exceptional. His position in the game at this moment is very high.'