It has been reported that Rio Ferdinand has given some insight to the lengths Cristiano Ronaldo went to in order to improve his game during his time at Manchester United.
The Real Madrid star rose to prominence during his spell at Old Trafford, which ran from 2003 until 2009, but it was not all natural ability which has seen the 30-year-old become one of the best players in the history of the game.
Former Red Devils teammate Ferdinand said in a Q&A with the England U16 team that Ronaldo did plenty of work to develop his shooting and stopovers which he has since used to dazzle defenders throughout his stellar career.
“You’ve got Cristiano Ronaldo who came to the club as a good player, as a talented player. You think he was what he is today? He wasn’t. He has worked,” said Ferdinand.
“He didn’t have a great shot when he came. He had a powerful shot but it went everywhere.
“He used to go out after – he was embarrassed – pick up a bag of balls, walk around to another pitch right over the other side [of the training field] so he could hide behind the trees.
“‘Ronnie, where are you going man?’
“‘I’m just going over there.’
“After a few months you’d see. ‘Where’s Ronnie going? He’s doing shooting, he does stepovers.’ He used to put these mad things on his feet, these weights, and do mad stepovers.
“I used to think ‘Are you mad? What are you doing?’ Until he started bamboozling people.
“You’d get to that stage where he was flying for Manchester United but it wasn’t enough. He wants to bed the best. He’s not getting the ball and doing these mad tricks all the time; he wants efficiency, goals, assists. That’s all he cared about.”