Former Manchester United youngster Mads Timm has recalled how Cristiano Ronaldo responded to the tough welcome he encountered after his move to Old Trafford in 2003.
With only one appearance for Man United, Mads Timm could only sit by and watch as Cristiano Ronaldo secured a first-team place and embark on his development into one of the greatest footballers of all time.
But it wasn’t all plain sailing for Ronaldo according to Timm, a Danish forward who made his United debut in 2002.
Timm revealed how Ronaldo fell victim to some abuse from his teammates at United but was able to rise to the challenge and remained focused on his goal of becoming the best player he could be.
“He was quite extraordinary as a footballer, and as a person,” Timm wrote in his book Red Devil, via The Sun.
“Like me, he was bullied when he came to the club. With his hair – which he soon got clipped – and with his almost acrobatic attempt to impress the coaches.
“He could stand and do 10-15 step overs before he tried to dribble past the opponent. ‘Pass now, just pass, dammit,’ shouted Gary Neville and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer constantly to him when we had reserve team matches together.
“The special thing about Cristiano Ronaldo was that he immediately took the fight against the hierarchy. And he won it.
“He was completely indifferent to the rest of his teammates. He gave no room for others. It was me, me, me. Cristiano Ronaldo. CR7.”
Timm left United in 2006 to return to his native Denmark and he admitted that he found it difficult to adapt to the environment at the Red Devils.
Ronaldo was on a different trajectory and Timm knew early on that the Portuguese player was destined for superstardom.
“He was just the opposite; he was moving forward, clear-headed and with an indomitable faith in himself,” Timm said of Ronaldo.
“It was also reflected on the pitch. We performed an internal training match where I played on the left wing, while he was right wing for the other team.
“Every time we met on the field, he wiped me, and I have rarely been so out of breath after a test. He pulled all the air out of me.”