Rio Ferdinand has revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo was embarrassed to practice on his own after joining Manchester United, but used to take himself out onto a secret pitch at the training ground after his team-mates had left.
Ronaldo transformed himself into one of the best players in the world during his time at United.
The Portuguese sensation signed in 2003 for just £12million from Sporting Lisbon, leaving six years later for £80m.
During his time at Old Trafford, Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 games, winning the Premier League three times as well as the Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup.
But Ferdinand has revealed that the winger used to be embarrassed about the amount he worked during training.
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The defender explained what it was like to work with the Portuguese ace under Sir Alex Ferguson, and described the way he changed his game during his time at United.
When he started at United, Ronaldo had a reputation for going down too easily and focusing too heavily on skills instead of having an end product.
But by the time he left, he was a prolific forward and could play anywhere across the front line.
That change in focus didn’t come about by accident, as Ferdinand explained.
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“He was a mad professional. He was diligent in all of his training,” he said.
“He used to be embarrassed at the beginning to do extra.
“He’d go on to another pitch and take a bag of balls, behind the bushes and do it on his own.
“The difference was at first he was more about skills and then all of a sudden he just started about numbers.
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“‘I’ve just got to banging goals all game. That’s it.’”
Meanwhile, Ronaldo has been linked with a stunning move back to Real Madrid this summer.
Juventus are said to be struggling financially, and view a potential sale as beneficial to their situation.
Reports suggest they would be willing to accept just £50m for Ronaldo, should Madrid want to make a move.
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