Few people in the world would be willing to question Cristiano Ronaldo's macho masculinity. His hair is immaculate, his teeth are brighter than the sun and his muscles sculpted better than Michelangelo's David. In many ways, he is an Adonis.
But underneath the rock hard pecs and washboard abs, the Real Madrid star is as emotionally unstable as any one of us. That is something the Manchester United team of 2005 found out after a 2-1 defeat to Benfica.
Ronaldo was playing in that game and it had more significance attached to it than a simple Champions League group game. Then just 20 years old, he was enjoying his first return to Portugal since leaving for Old Trafford in 2003.
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Although he had started to make his presence known in the Premier League, to many of his critics he was still too selfish and too dainty for English football. With the eyes of his home country staring directly at him, Ronaldo worked extra hard to impress.
He failed. In fact, he had a miserable evening and was substituted for Ji Sung-Park shortly after the hour mark. In the post-match dressing room, Ferguson focused solely on the Portuguese youngster.
According to the Spanish journalist, Guillem Balague, who is currently promoting his new book 'Cristiano Ronaldo', Ferguson failed to contain himself, shouting: “Who do you think you are? Trying to play by yourself? You’ll never be a player if you do this!”
Ronaldo, probably disappointed with his failure to impress in his homeland, immediately started to cry and his team-mates did little to comfort him.
He needed to learn
Speaking in the book, Rio Ferdinand said: “He needed to learn. That was a message from the team, not just from Ferguson: everyone thought he needed to learn.”
And, much like a playground, Manchester United's first-team stars did not let Ronaldo forget about his little case of weepies. Ferdinand said he and Quinton Fortune were calling him “cry-baby” for weeks afterwards.