Former Manchester United manager ​Sir Alex Ferguson once reduced Cristiano Ronaldo to tears after a poor performance, according to an extract from Guillem Balague's new book about the player.


The book, set for release this week, titled Cristiano Ronaldo: The Biography, details how Ronaldo endured difficult early days at Old Trafford after his arrival from Sporting Clube de Portugal and the treatment he received from Ferguson and his team mates over his time at United.

While he has gone down as one of United's best ever players, Ronaldo went through a tough learning process. It was revealed Ronaldo cried following a Champions League defeat against Benfica in his first match back on home soil since signing for United, as he and the team had a bad day and Ronaldo was accused of playing for himself.


The extract, which appears in the ​Telegraph, read: '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!

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"Ronaldo began to cry. The other players left him be. “He needed to learn,” said (Rio) Ferdinand. “That was a message from the team, not just from Ferguson: everyone thought he needed to learn.”


"After the telling-off and a few tears, the Portuguese’s reaction was the same as always: keep working in training to improve. Predictably, the group responded by winding him up. Quinton Fortune and Rio Ferdinand reminded him of the incident a few weeks later.


'“He’s crying in the changing room again!”


'“F--- off! What are you talking about?”


'“Cry-baby, cry-baby!”'


Ronaldo was a usual butt of the players' jokes after he arrived at United, and a number of players who featured in the squad at the time took the chance to recall how they remember Ronaldo when he arrived at Old Trafford at 18.


The extract read: '"He walked with his chest out. He was so confident. His eyes looking straight into yours," recalled Phil Neville.

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"Many youngsters had passed through that dressing room without daring so much as to look up at Roy Keane, Gary Neville or Ryan Giggs. “Bloody hell, this lad,” thought Neville when he saw how Ronaldo looked him straight in the eye. “I likened him to Cantona. Cristiano arrived here saying, ‘This isn’t big, this is just where I belong."


"Of course, such behaviour comes at a cost. The new boys usually dress discreetly, for example. Not Ronaldo. His dress sense, with very visible branding, did not seem to fit in. The jokes were flooding in from day one.


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'“He would just wear the tightest clothes. Armani or whatever, and the jeans were the tightest ever. It was probably the style in Portugal. We’d say to him, “Any room down there in that area?’” explained (Quinton) Fortune. “Ronnie, you need to look at yourself.”


"They would take the mickey out of his hair and shoes. His almost see-through T-shirts. His sunglasses. His teeth and skin. He quickly decided to have extensive orthodontic work done on his teeth and use skin-care products. “He overdressed for training,” revealed Gary Neville. “But I look back and think: ‘Those were high standards.


"Ronaldo would get vexed - the worst thing you can do. “We got a reaction from him, so we kept doing it,” recalled Fortune. “If he’d just ignored us, I think we would’ve stopped. Someone would say – ‘we’ve heard you’re just keeping that shirt warm for David Beckham. And you can use his locker till he comes back. He’s not going to be happy when he comes back.


"And if he attempted a comeback, Fortune, Ferdinand or whoever would come out with, “Speak to me when you’ve played in the World Cup”, to which the rest of the players would respond with an “Ahhh, Ronnie, he’s killed you, he’s killed you!”

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'“Looking back, I think it was a very unforgiving changing room; you had to be tough to get through it,” admitted Gary Neville. “I honestly think it was the making of him.”


'When he arrived, Cristiano just so happened to choose the locker that was opposite a mirror, a choice that has been much discussed.


'“He put up a two-metre mirror,” recalled Phil Neville. “He was the first one to do something like that at Manchester United.”


'Quinton Fortune tells it differently: “We even put a mirror in his locker so he could have a look at himself.”


'“All I know,’ said Gary Neville, “is one, he had a locker; two, there just happened to be a mirror there on the column around the corner opposite where he got changed; and three, he liked it.”'