Former Real Madrid manager Fabio Capello has claimed ex-Brazil striker Ronaldo was the best player he ever worked with despite his lack of desire to lose weight at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Speaking to Spanish media outlet AS, the Italian says he instructed the once deadly goalscorer to shed a few kilos after discovering how out of shape he was when the pair first crossed paths in 2006.
“Look, he weighed 96kg [15 stone]. I asked 'how much did you weigh when you won the World Cup [in 2002]?
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“84kg [13 stone] he said. 'Can you go down to 90kg [14 stone] at least?' And he didn’t…”
Capello says Ronaldo, who ironically weighed the heaviest of his career during what should have been his peak age at 29-years-old, lacked the desire to train hard and lose the weight required to maximise his output for the team.
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However, he insists the former Cruzeiro wonderkid was the greatest footballer he has managed during his career, closely followed by Dutchman Marco van Basten.
“When I’m asked who the best player I have coached is I always say Ronaldo. Ronaldo was incredible, the best by a distance. Him and Van Basten.”
The 39-year-old enjoyed the most clinical period of his career during spells with PSV, Barcelona and Inter Milan before managing to put away a more than respectable 104 goals in 177 games over an injury-plagued five years at Madrid.
Irrespective of his fitness problems, Ronaldo was by no means a failure in a side also boasting the likes of David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Roberto Carlos and Raul.
When he was on the pitch, the striker played an instrumental role in Los Blancos securing two La Liga titles, the Intercontinental Cup and the Spanish Super Cup between 2002 and 2006.
Ronaldo bid farewell to Real Madrid the season prior to Capello’s departure, going on to join AC Milan under the management of Carlo Ancelotti.
The South American hitman once again struggled with injuries and weight issues, restricting him to nine goals in 19 appearances for the Serie A club before electing to return to his homeland with Corinthians in 2009.
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