New biography recalls Cristiano Ronaldo's training ground bust-up with Ruud van Nistelrooy
Footallers and their egos, eh?
It's been well documented that Ruud van Nistelrooy didn't appreciate Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival and subsequent spotlight-stealing at Manchester United.
But in Ronaldo's new biography, written by Guillem Balague's, it's revealed that the rivalry almost turned physical between the players during one training session at Carrington.
Balague interviewed a number of former United players for the book and Rio Ferdinand explained to him how he had to step in to stand up for a young Ronaldo in the bust-up.
"They had a couple of arguments,” revealed Ferdinand in an extract featured in The Daily Telegraph. “Ruud Van Nistelrooy kicked him one time and after that I kicked Ruud just to protect Ronnie a little bit and Ruud swung a punch at me and he missed.”
The extract also recalls an incident in which Alex Ferguson brought the Portuguese winger to tears for a bad game in a bid to toughen him up.
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!”
Ronaldo began to cry. The other players left him be. "He needed to learn,' said 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?”
Ferguson knew that after the stick, he had to apply the carrot. “Every now and again, the manager would ask him in front of the squad, ‘Why did you dribble rather than cross?’” recalled Alec Wylie. “Then when he’d finished his rant, he’d go and sit next to him to explain why he’d had a go at him.”