Manchester United’s capture of Wayne Rooney in 2004 created the same feeling as Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival 12 months earlier, claims Mikael Silvestre.
The forward moved to Old Trafford following a hugely impressive two seasons at Everton.
He rose to prominence at that summer’s European Championships where he scored four times for England.
He limped off as the Three Lions were dumped out but his status as a world star was confirmed.
United spent £25m on the then teenager which created quite a buzz in Manchester.
Rooney scored a hat-trick on his debut against Fenerbahce in the Champions League and Silvestre knew the Red Devils were on to something good.
He told United’s Unscripted series: “When I heard we were signing him I was super, super happy. It was the same feeling as when we signed Cristiano the year before.
“You know you are getting someone that’s going to stay there for a while and perform, bring what you need to win trophies, which is scoring goals and creating chances. I think we were all really excited to sign one of the best young prospects around.
“For me, it meant an even harder test every day because I had to face him in training, but I loved that. I had always felt that it was better to face the likes of Wayne and Cristiano in training.
“Before them it had been Ruud [van Nistelrooy], Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer], Teddy [Sheringham] – because I was a competitor and I always wanted to test myself against the best.
“Not only was he fast and clever, he was strong too. So was I and physicality, as a defender, is an important part of the game, so I was always looking forward to the challenge of facing him.
“He was great when he arrived, but he was always developing. He learnt a lot from the others, from Ole, Ruud, Louis [Saha], and like Cristiano he was a fast learner.
“He needed to bring consistency quickly into his game to be able to retain his place in the starting XI for United and England. He was, like the rest of us, a bad loser, and if you don’t want to lose then you always have to improve. He got that. He was always looking to improve his game.”