Cristiano Ronaldo was so “obsessed” with football that Alex Ferguson used to order him off the training ground while honing his talents.
Ronaldo joined United from Sporting CP at the age of 18 and became one of the greatest of all time, winning the Ballon d’Or five times.
The Portugal captain resoundedly returned to Old Trafford in August after prolific spells with Real Madrid and Juventus, becoming the all-time top scorer of the La Liga giants.
Ferguson was a father figure to Ronaldo after his move to United as a teenager, but the legendary former United manager had to send him home to save his legs early in his first stint at the club.
Former United midfielder Nicky Butt revealed in the preface to the new book ‘Viva Ronaldo’: “Ronaldo had to emerge as a genius, but it wasn’t just his talent that brought him to the top.
“It is often said that some players worked hard, stayed behind for some extra training or to put their techniques into practice, but with Cristiano it was total dedication, total commitment and total hard work.
“He didn’t have a God-given physique, it wasn’t given to him, he worked hard to achieve it. He actually came to us as a skinny, bony kid, and he worked hard to get that physique for many, many years.
“He had to reach a new level of physical strength because the Premier League demanded it, and he had many opportunities to see firsthand how physical and tough he can be when he had to face the likes of Roy Keane and Jaap, even in training. Stam.