Fernando Santos reveals what he told Cristiano Ronaldo during his first training session

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To become one of the best footballers in the world, you need some guidance.

Yes, you need to be incredibly talented but you need managers that will give you the best advice in order to maximise your skills.

While Sir Alex Ferguson has received plenty of praise for helping Cristiano Ronaldo become the player he is today, we often forget there was another boss in his life before he moved to England.

That man was Fernando Santos who helped guide Ronaldo through some of his early years of his career at Sporting Lisbon.

The forward made his debut for the Portuguese club at the age of 17 and, naturally, scored twice. The club knew they had a player with world-class potential on their hands and it was Santos’ job to make sure he achieved greatness.

To do that, he had an important piece of advice on his very first training session with the youngster. He has now recalled the words he said to Ronaldo when they trained together for the first time.

"With me, you'll [Ronaldo] always play but you have to lose the circus tricks," Santos said, per Marca.

"You still have a lot of things to improve on - you can jump really high but you hardly ever head the ball well."

Despite telling Ronaldo to stop the showboating, he arrived in Manchester with a box of tricks. In his early days at Old Trafford, he would perform numerous stopovers whenever he received the ball.

It wouldn’t surprise us if Ferguson had the very same conversation with Ronaldo in his first training session at Carrington because he soon stopped the incessant tricks to become one of United’s best ever players.

Although Santos told him that he’ll ‘always play,’ the manager regrets selecting Ronaldo for a pre-season friendly against Ferguson’s United back in the summer of 2003.

Ronaldo produced a brilliant performance during Sporting’s 3-1 victory, assisting two goals and drawing plenty attention to him. It led to the United players demanding that Ferguson signed him, something the Scot agreed to shortly afterwards.

Santos' regret

However, Santos believes that if he hadn’t played him, United may not have realised his talents.

I regret playing him, because a week earlier we had also lost Ricardo Quaresma," Santos pointed out.

"Who knew that 13 years later the two would be back to win the Euro 2016 and become champions."

As Ronaldo went onto bigger and better things after leaving Sporting, so too did Santos. He is, of course, currently in charge of the Portuguese national side and led them to Euro 2016 glory this summer with the aid of Ronaldo on the touchline in the final.

Wayne Rooney
Zinedine Zidane
La Liga
Real Madrid
Rio Ferdinand
Premier League
Cristiano Ronaldo
Portugal Football
Paul Scholes
Manchester United
Ryan Giggs

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