Manchester United legend Gary Neville has revealed that manager Sir Alex Ferguson did not want to make Portuguese winger Cristiano Ronaldo captain as he did not want to damage the squad's morale. Neville rose through the ranks at Manchester United and was named captain after Roy Keane left the club in 2005. Gary Neville was club captain until his retirement in 2011, lifting eight Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two Champions League titles.
Speaking to Sky Sports, former Manchester United captain Gary Neville revealed that he became disillusioned in his role due to a string of injury concerns. The Class of '92 star said that in his third season of captaincy, he sought a meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson to hand over the captaincy. Neville said that the Manchester United team had strong personalities in Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and fellow Class of '92 graduates Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, and anyone of those would have made a good choice for captain considering Neville was missing a string of games with injuries.
However, Sir Alex Ferguson rejected the suggestion saying that he did not want to hand it over Cristiano Ronaldo or Nemanja Vidic or it would make Wayne Rooney or Rio Ferdinand unhappy. Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs rotated the armband until Neville's retirement in 2011. The former Manchester United defender says that he and Giggs were the "elder statesman" of the dressing room and Sir Alex Ferguson thought of the team first despite Neville feeling unworthy as a captain at that stage.
Gary Neville and his brother Phil Neville were part of the famous Class of '92 side that lifted that FA Youth Cup. He made his Premier League debut in September 1992 and established himself as the first-choice right-back in the 1994–95 season. Neville formed a strong partnership with fellow academy graduate David Beckham on the right flank and was one of the main men during Manchester United's treble-winning season in 1999. Neville spent 19 years at Manchester United, making 602 appearances across all competitions winning eight Premier League titles, two Champions League titles, three FA Cups and two League Cup titles.