Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo used to be called "ET" when he was a teenager, according to Sporting Lisbon scout Aurélio Pereira.
Pereira is widely considered to be the man who discovered Ronaldo - and he revealed to MARCA that his former Sporting Lisbon teammates nicknamed the boy-wonder after the friendly alien from Steven Spielberg's 1982 science fiction classic.
However, the two-time Ballon d'Or winner was compared to "ET" not because of his appearance - but because his extraordinary talent led to people doubting whether he really was human.
"When he was 14, his teammates already called him 'ET' because he was out of this world," Pereira commented.
He went on to list some of the attributes that set Ronaldo apart from his young teammates: "The speed with which he played, the fact that he could shoot with both feet, the skill he showed with the ball at his feet and the confidence he inspired in his teammates to pass him the ball."
However, Pereira added that Ronaldo's commitment to becoming the best player in the world is what has allowed him to scale the heights he has.
"Talent isn't everything," he continued. "Many didn't have Cristiano's dedication. Even back then he always stayed on after training or in the gym to improve.
"Self-confidence was already one of his main qualities. He grew up very quickly in terms of his maturity."
Ronaldo beat Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery to the 2013 Ballon d'Or at a ceremony in Zurich last week.
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