Rio Ferdinand has explained how the Manchester United dressing room helped mould Cristiano Ronaldo into the superstar he is today with some very tough love.
Ronaldo joined the Red Devils from Sporting Lisbon back in 2003 as a raw talent. He spent six years at Old Trafford where he won a Ballon d'Or, three Premier League titles and the Champions League before departing for Real Madrid.
The Portugual international grew up considerably in the time he spent at United, moving to Madrid as one of the greatest players to have ever graced the game and going on to win a further four Ballon d'Or awards, two La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.
Ronaldo always had the makings of a top professional, but his former teammate Ferdinand reckons it was the United dressing room kicking him in training that made a man out of him.
Ferdinand told William Hill: "The Ronaldo that people have seen the last four, five or six years is not the Ronaldo who came to United. He was a showman. People would come to the stadium going 'I have come to see Ronaldo get me off my seat today'. That's what it was like.
"Now, at the back end of his career, it's like 'I'm coming to see a moment in the game, where he decides the game'. Whereas before, he could give you five, six, seven, eight, nine or 10 moments in the game, because he was just pure skill.
"He might score, he might set one up, but it was just about making someone look stupid, he wanted to embarrass people, he was a joke, man, an unbelievable player.
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"But he got kicked enough in training and drilled enough in training by us, that got him to a place where he understood that, actually, end product overrides everything. You can entertain to a certain extent, but you need an end product - and he left us as the best player in the world."
Ronaldo made a fairytale return to United in the summer of 2021 after 12 years away at Real Madrid and Juventus.
But the 37-year-old hasn't enjoyed the same success at Old Trafford this time round and has even found first-team football more difficult to come by, with Erik ten Hag largely overlooking the forward for selection.
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