Cristiano Ronaldo is perhaps the finest example of hard work in the beautiful game.
Sure, everybody who makes it in the professional game needs determination and grit along the way, but Ronaldo is the most overt advocate of the work behind the scenes that’s required to make it.
It seems that everybody who has shared a team with Ronaldo can vouch for all the extra time he spent in the gym or even dribbling around the training ground to finesse his skills.
When there are even tales of Ronaldo hopping in an ice bath after a Champions League away game to aid his recovery, you know the Portuguese will go to any length imaginable.
However, although Ronaldo has never let his work ethic wane, perhaps his biggest toils came during his time at Manchester United.
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Rumours about Ronaldo’s training
The forward arrived at Old Trafford as a thoroughly talented youngster, but it was through his sheer determination that he left the club six years later as a Ballon d’Or winner.
And perhaps one of the most astonishing stories that came out of Ronaldo’s training at United was claims that he would practise skills and running in ankle weights.
The rumour was started by Quinton Fortune, who remarked in 2015: “He was always the best at step overs, but he started doing them with weights strapped to his ankles so that it would be easier in a real game.”
Ronaldo used ankle weights at Man Utd
However, given all of the stories that surround Ronaldo’s methods, did Ferguson really allow him to performs skill like step overs with weights above his feet?
The answer is an emphatic ‘yes’ with the 34-year-old confirming the story during a recent interview with UniSport, explaining how it made skills and sprinting feel much easier in matches.
“Everything is important,” Ronaldo explained. “At the beginning, when I was young, I did a lot and I did extra training to improve my skills, the dribbling and everything.
“But I think it worked well, because what I am today started from that moment. I did weights on my feet when jumping and dribbling, then I’d take them off and feel faster.”
Ever wondered why Ronaldo can jump so high, run with the ball so quickly and perform step overs so effortlessly? Well, it looks like the Juventus star has just given the answer.
The use of both ankle and wrist weights are popular all across sport, with the idea that if you can perform skills in more difficult circumstances, then it will feel easier when you remove them.
That clearly worked for Ronaldo and must have played a more general role in strengthening every part of his body – something else which has helped him become such an elite athlete.
We can’t see ankle-weight-dribbling catching on anytime soon, but it certainly helped Ronaldo on his journey to establishing himself as a footballing and sporting legend.
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