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Khabib Nurmagomedov's message to Cristiano Ronaldo after meeting follows Everton snub
06/10/2021 10:15:02

Former UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has hailed Cristiano Ronaldo as the "best ever" after meeting the Manchester United forward on Saturday.

Khabib was in attendance at Old Trafford for United's Premier League fixture with Everton and also met with legendary ex-manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

The pair were heard discussing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's controversial decision to bench Ronaldo, which backfired as the Red Devils were held to a 1-1 draw by their visitors.

The Portugal striker was reportedly furious about his starting XI snub and was seen storming down the tunnel at the full-time whistle, having come on in the second half.

But Ronaldo put his frustrations to one side to pose next to Khabib after the match, with the undefeated former lightweight champion posting the picture on Tuesday evening with encouraging words for the 36-year-old.

"He is a best ever, keep doing your things Champ, you inspire millions of people around the World," wrote Khabib.

The 33-year-old retired from mixed martial arts after defeating Justin Gaethje last year with a faultless professional record of 29 wins without loss.

Just as Khabib is regarded as one of the best fighters to grace the UFC's Octagon, Ronaldo is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time.

He went into the weekend with five goals in his previous five games, so it was surprising to see Solskjaer name him on the bench for the visit of Everton, especially as United were beaten 1-0 at home by Aston Villa in their previous Premier League match.

Ronaldo played the entirety of the Champions League clash with Villarreal on Wednesday, scoring a dramatic 95th-minute winner against the Spanish club.

Solskjaer cited the need to "freshen up" his side's attack as he explained the decision to bench Ronaldo before kick-off against the Toffees.

"Well Wednesday was a big effort, big emotional and physical output so needed to freshen it up," said the Norwegian manager. "Start of this game is very important, got big players coming on too, we believe it’s a team that can take charge of the game."

Solskjaer added: "If we are to be successful this season we need to rotate, manage the minutes, we need to make sure we are a big squad and we are together."

Solskjaer's decision to start Anthony Martial was rewarded as the French forward fired United into the lead just before half-time.

But Andros Townsend earned Everton a point with a 65th-minute strike, which came shortly after Ronaldo was introduced from the bench.

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