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“Cris, who are all these people?”



Manchester United

CR7 gathered experts early in his career who helped take him to the top. Rio Ferdinand was impressed.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s professionalism and training morale are now almost proverbial. The Portuguese international set standards in his early years, with residents of his hometown of Funchal wondering, for example, when the young CR7 trained with weights on his feet. Ronaldo’s enthusiasm for work and constant striving for perfection also impressed former companions.

For example Rio Ferdinand. He played alongside Ronaldo at Manchester United from 2003 to 2010 and witnessed his rise from exceptional talent to world footballer up close. Together they won numerous titles and, to top it off, the Champions League against Chelsea in Moscow in 2008.

Rio Ferdinand on Cristiano Ronaldo: ‘He’s just amazing’

Ferdinand is still under the impression of Ronaldo’s will today. A few years ago, the former England international told world boxing champion Anthony Joshua why Ronaldo is his absolute number one.

“Ronaldo is just incredible,” said Ferdinand. “His greed to be the best knew no bounds. I’ve never seen anything like it. A man obsessed with getting to the top. He did whatever it took to make it happen.”

He further described the now 38-year-old: “He was brave to take risks. He came to another country and he remained the person he was.”

Ferdinand also shared an anecdote that describes how Ronaldo was also a pioneer when it came to keeping fit outside of the training ground and the stadium: “I came to his house once and there were six or seven people sitting in the entrance area . I asked him: ‘Cris, who are all these people?’ He just said, ‘This is my personal massage therapist, my nutritionist, my doctor, my physical therapist and my chef.'”

‘A visionary’: Cristiano Ronaldo impressed Rio Ferdinand

What is common today in big clubs and also with many players was still quite new territory in the 2000s. “He had all these people around him, nobody else had that. He was a visionary in that respect,” said Ferdinand.

The bite and attention to detail paid off. Ronaldo was the most expensive footballer in history when he joined Real Madrid from Man United. He won the Ballon d’Or five times and broke countless records. He won the premier class five times in total and his ambition did not ebb as he got older and left Madrid in 2018.

Ferdinand recalled: “Once he sent me a picture when he was doing deep-sea recreation in the sea. He drove for two hours when he was in Turin with Juventus. Other people spend their time at home or go out to eat. But he did always looking for that little something extra.”

Ronaldo’s eagerness to work, his ambition and his responsible approach mean that he is still setting standards at the age of 38. He made his move to Al-Nassr a few months ago for a record salary and has scored 12 goals in 15 games in Saudi Arabia so far.