The United stalwart outlined the dedication and hard work that his ex-teammate Cristiano Ronaldo had to endure during his Old Trafford days.
In delivering a talk to England’s Under 16 team this week, Rio Ferdinand hit home with the youngsters, explaining to them that even a talent as prodigious as Cristiano Ronaldo needed to put in a shift to capitalise on his skills.
Via the Daily Mail, Ferdinand recalled how the three time Ballon d’Or winner was so embarrassed about his shooting exploits during his early days at the Manchester giants, he would practise doggedly, long after training ended.
Ronaldo’s ‘show pony’ reputation upon his arrival in 2003 would eventually give way to a player who would become one of the most effective attacking outlets in football.
“Cristiano Ronaldo came to the club as a good player, a talented player. But you think he is what he is today but he ain’t,” Rio told the ambitious kids.
“He didn’t have a great shot when he came. He had a powerful shot but it went everywhere. He used to go out after, 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.”
‘Ronnie, where you going man?’ ‘I’m just going over there’. ‘What’s wrong with you?’ But after a few months ‘where is Ronnie going?’ ‘Oh, he does shooting, goes step-overs, he used to put these mad weights on his feet and do these step-overs. ‘Are you mad, what are you doing?’
“Until he started bamboozling people and then you get to that 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. It’s about bettering yourself.”
Having played with and against the very best players that the game has to offer, the team of Young Lions ought to take heed of Ferdinand’s insights.