Sir Alex Ferguson had to smack off the soft attitude of the young Portuguese talent and the rest is of course, history!
Cristiano Ronaldo arrived at Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon for 12.2 million pounds in 2003. At a young age, the Madeira born winger quickly treated fans with speed, skill and valor but the Scottish gaffer had to clean his eagerness to hit the floor when tackled.
That was Sir Alex’s priority as he feared that it would impede the forward’s development. According to former Red Devils coach Tony Coton, the plan to curb out such mentality was somehow an audacious one.
“One flaw of Ronaldo was his habit of falling to the ground like a rag doll when he lost a tackle and Sir Alex embarked on a mission to toughen him up. Members of the coaching staff were encouraged to turn a blind eye when Ronaldo was fouled in practice games and less intense matches.
“Poor Ronaldo didn’t know what hit him as teammates who he shared jokes with gave him that kind of unfair treatment. Tough professionals like Roy Keane and Rio Ferdinand would lambast him for being soft. It was tough love but our winger gradually grasped the message,” the former goalkeeper added in his article for Sportsmail.
That aided the Portuguese speedster in winning his first UEFA Champions League trophy in 2008 aside other major gongs. CR7 has since then developed into arguably the world’s best player at Real Madrid scooping three more UCL titles along with several individual awards.