By Alberto Pinero
Cristiano Ronaldo's goal-scoring exploits may have inspired Real Madrid to Primera Division glory this season, but Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton believes the Portuguese was a better player when he was at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo, who moved to the Spanish capital in 2009, netted his 44th goal of the Liga campaign in Wednesday's title-clinching victory over Athletic Bilbao at San Mames.
Charlton is impressed by the 27-year-old's strike rate but the World Cup winner is of the opinion that Ronaldo's performances in England were more noteworthy because he was not always the spearhead of United's attack.
"He's a wonderful player," the former England international told Goal.com. "Obviously, I know him well because he played at United, so it's no surprise for me that he's having such a remarkable season.
"But I think he was better at United than he is at Madrid. Seriously! Here, he scores more goals, but he played in Manchester in the middle of the field but Real Madrid see him more as a striker."
Turning his attention to the intriguing battle for this season's Premier League title, Charlton admitted that he has no idea if United will pip Manchester City to the title, with Roberto Mancini's men having gone top on goal difference after their 1-0 derby success at Eastlands on Monday.
"I do not know what will happen, I wish I did," he exclaimed. "I hope we win it but, obviously, it's not up to me; it's Manchester City who will decide."
As for Madrid's Liga success, Charlton dismissed the notion that while Jose Mourinho's men have claimed the title with two games to spare, they remain somehow inferior to Barcelona.
"If they are champions, it is because they are the best," the 74-year-old reasoned.
Charlton, who scored 49 goals in 106 appearances for his country, spent 17 years at Old Trafford during his illustrious playing career.