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
"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?”
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: '
"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."
'“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.”
"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.
'“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.”'