Rio Ferdinand has revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo was embarrassed about his wayward shooting during his early days at Manchester United.
Speaking in front of the England Under-16s - scroll down this page to watch the video - Ferdinand provided a little insight into the mentality of a young Ronaldo when he first arrived at Old Trafford.
The Portuguese superstar joined United in 2003 as a raw but talented teenager, and left six years later as a Ballon d’Or winner and arguably the world’s greatest player thanks to his unparalleled work ethic and his insatiable desire to be the best.
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“He didn't have a great shot when he came,” Ferdinand said of Ronaldo, per the Daily Mail. “He had a powerful shot but it went everywhere. He used to go out after training, he was embarrassed.
“He used to have a bag of balls and went to a pitch right over the other side so he could hide behind the trees.
“It was ‘Ronnie, where you going man?’
‘I’m just going over there.’
‘What's wrong with you?’
“But after a few months it was ‘oh he does shooting, does stepovers’. He used to put weights on his feet and do these stepovers.
“[We said] ‘Are you mad, what are you doing?’ Until he started bamboozling people.
“You get to the stage where he's flying with Man United but it ain't enough. He wants to be the best. He ain't getting the ball and doing all these mad tricks all the time, he wants efficiency, he wants goals, assists, that's all he cared about.”
Video: Ferdinand on Ronaldo
Scroll to 3 minutes...
Ronaldo had to work hard to maximise his potential
Ferdinand was outlining the importance of hard work to England’s next generation of talented young footballers.
Although Ronaldo was obviously born with some of his talent, he would never have scaled the lofty heights he has during his career without putting in the effort on the training ground.
Now 30 years old - and a three-time Ballon d’Or winner - Ronaldo has maximised his potential. Very few players are able to say the same when they hang up their boots.
Ronaldo became a goal machine
Ronaldo identified early on at Manchester United that, in order to become a prolific forward, he needed to improve his shooting - and only by constant shooting drills at Carrington was he able to achieve that objective.
He scored six goals in 40 appearances during his debut campaign at Old Trafford, followed by nine in 50 the season after, and 12 in 47 the season after that.
Then, during the 2006-07 campaign, he began to reap the rewards for his hard work. Twenty-three goals in 53 games was followed by the former Sporting Lisbon starlet scoring 42 goals in 49 matches for the Red Devils during the 2007-08 season.
At Real Madrid, Ronaldo has become a goal machine. In just over six seasons he cemented his status as the club’s all-time top goalscorer and now boasts a remarkable tally of 329 goals in 318 matches for Los Blancos.
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