Cristiano Ronaldo drove to muscle city after 'skinny' insults

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Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed that he was driven to improve his physique after critics told him he was too skinny to become a top footballer.

The Portuguese star is virtually unrecognisable from the young boy who arrived at Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon in 2003, at least from the neck down.

Then just 19-years-old, the young talent cut a slender figure who would regularly be pushed off the ball by the Premier League's burly defenders.


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In fact, in a bid to compete, Ronaldo would chose to dive when challenged by defenders instead of taking them on in a shoulder-to-shoulder battle.

His early days as a Manchester United prospect were greeted with a plethora of questions over whether he had what it took to make it in the physical game.

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But his experiences in the English game, and the criticism that came his way, inspired Ronaldo to work harder than ever in the gym to transform his lanky figure into the beefcake we all enjoy today.

The video

Too skinny

He told Nike: "When I was younger most people told me: 'Cristiano, you are a very talented player but you are too skinny.

“So I put it in my mind that my body can improve. With dedication and hard work in the gym, I improved a lot on that - at the end of the day it's down to the person's mindset.

“You have to work so hard. I do this every day. This is why I have been at the top level for many, many years."

The transformation

The shirt above, which we believe to be an XS, looks like a double duvet when placed on Ronaldo's slender frame, but fast-forward a decade and you can later see that Real Madrid can't find a shirt big enough for him, forcing the Portugal international to play topless.

In fact his transformation has been so astounding that this person has decided to put a complicated video together showing how his face and neck has changed since he first arrived on the scene.


Have you seen any other incredible transformations in sport? 

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Premier League
Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid
Manchester United

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