Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo is a global superstar, an icon of the game and one of the greatest players in history to kick a soccer ball.
Throughout his career, the 37-year-old won numerous titles and broke multiple personal records in his illustrious career spanning more than two decades. However, it wasn’t always easy for the Portuguese champions, who came close to giving up football during his early days at Sporting Lisbon.
According to a report by The Mirror, a young Ronaldo was constantly on the receiving end of bullying and personal attacks from Sporting Lisbon fans and players who mocked him for his accent and locked him out of the team gym on more than one occasion. chance.
The Mirror reports on these incredible revelations from Ronaldo: “Ronaldo was teased for his thick Madeiran accent by the other children and cried every day because he missed his local family and friends. The young star was said to have been involved in a series of fights and run-ins with other children in the schoolyard.”
So bitter was Ronaldo’s time at school that he once threw a chair at one of his teachers! Shortly thereafter he was allowed to drop out and concentrate solely on his football career.
Sporting prevented Ronaldo from using the gym as he pleased. Therefore, he had trouble increasing his volume and got knocked down in games. Sporting had strict policies when it came to ‘kids’ using the gym. They blocked young people from lifting weights and exercising regularly because they wanted them to grow naturally.”
However, Ronaldo was not dissuaded from using the club’s gym facilities. He would often wake up in the middle of the night and sneak off to the gym to lift weights. Once the Sporting coaches found out, they sanctioned him. The club went so far as to lock down the gym with a giant padlock to keep the five-time Ballon d’Or winner out.
Ronaldo got creative and started doing squats with big buckets of water in the shower. The club coaches also confiscated the buckets from him. The resilient Ronaldo resorted to strapping on ankle weights and running after cars, which helped build the explosive speed he once boasted.
According to The Mirror, the United striker used to strike poses with oranges to practice close ball control, which annoyed his coaches even more!
Ronaldo’s hard work paid off when Sir Alex Ferguson brought him to Old Trafford in 2003 for £12m. Even while at United, he struggled to impress the older players and once had a fight on the training ground with Ruud van Nistelrooy, who grew frustrated at the Portuguese’s erratic and selfish nature on the ball.
Ronaldo benefited greatly from the support of Ferguson and Carlos Queiroz, who were his staunch supporters and had immense faith in him – their faith was not misplaced.
At United, Ronaldo formed one of the deadliest partnerships with Wayne Rooney, helping the club win numerous trophies, including three successive Premier Leagues and a Champions League. Ronaldo also won a Ballon d’Or during his time with the Red Devils.
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