Ronaldo will meet Manchester United for the first time since his £80million departure for Real Madrid when the European heavyweights square up in the Bernabeu Stadium on Wednesday.
Neville will be there too, in his role as a TV pundit.
And, speaking in his capacity as a McDonald's ambassador to publicise the 2013 FA Community Awards, the former United defender admits Ronaldo is a one-off.
"He changed my perception," he said. "Suddenly I didn't have someone in front of me who would come back and double up on the left-winger.
"In those early years he used to go wandering off. He was told to play on the right by Sir Alex Ferguson and would end up on the left. That was unheard of.
"By the end of Ronaldo's Manchester United career I was willing him not to chase back so he was free.
"We had a player who was beyond a level of talent I had ever seen. He made me realise you didn't always need to be in your shape."