SIR Alex Ferguson was so tough on Cristiano Ronaldo at times at Manchester United that the brilliant Portuguese forward broke down crying in the dressing room early in his career.
Quite simply, he could not cope at times with Ferguson’s caustic treatment, a new biography of the star by well-known Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague has revealed.
Ronaldo, now at Real Madrid and considered one of the two best players in the world, has long credited Ferguson’s legendary methods in helping him to the top during their time together at Old Trafford.
Mail Online reports that former United manager Sir Alex sought to get the best out of Ronaldo, arguably his greatest-ever talent, by emotionally testing him in the unforgiving and relentless dressing-room environment that existed during his time in charge.
Cristiano Ronaldo is said to have cried after a Manchester United dressing down from Sir Alex Ferguson
Ferguson’s approach helped mould Ronaldo into arguably the world’s best player
Ronaldo is now seen as one of the top two talents of a generation, having benefited from Ferguson’s treatment
2003-04 – Appearances: 40 Goals: 6
2004-05 – Appearances: 50 Goals: 9
2005-06 – Appearances: 47 Goals: 12
2006-07 – Appearances: 53 Goals: 23
2007-08 – Appearances: 49 Goals: 42
2008-09 – Appearances: 53 Goals: 26
Ferguson recognises Ronaldo as one of just four ‘world-class’ talents that he had at his disposal in his 27-year trophy-laden reign at United – Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes were the other three – but clearly felt that the Portuguese forward needed reminding of his responsibilities at times.
The Scottish boss signed Ronaldo as an 18-year-old and in his first season, after a poor showing back in his homeland against Benfica, Ferguson is said to have torn into his young talent.
Guillem Balague’s book, published in the Telegraph, reads: ‘In the dressing room, Ferguson could not contain himself: “Who do you think you are? Trying to play by yourself? You’ll never be a player if you do this!”
He obviously heeded the advice!