Ronaldo's classy gesture to Jonathan Woodgate after "difficult" Real Madrid debut
"Ronaldo came over and asked, 'how are you?'"
Brazilian legend Ronaldo was quick to console Jonathan Woodgate after the former England centre-back endured a nightmare Real Madrid debut.
Los Blancos spent £13.4million on Newcastle defender Woodgate back in the summer of 2003, but his career at the Santiago Bernabéu was hampered by injuries.
Woodgate's nightmare Madrid debut.
Woodgate, aged 24 when he arrived in Madrid, had to wait a year to make his first-team debut. When his opportunity eventually came around, the centre-back scored a spectacular own goal before being sent off in a 3-1 win for Madrid over Athletic Bilbao.
"I waited a year for my debut and then scored an own goal and got sent off," Woodgate revealed while speaking on the Original Penguin X Campaign Against Living Miserably Under The Surface podcast. "But the whole stadium clapped me!"
"Because they’d seen me give interviews, they knew I’d been learning the language and doing everything I could, which they appreciated. But it could have gone a bit better…"
"The debut was difficult but afterwards I was talking to one of the physios, and Ronaldo came over and asked ‘how are you?’ I told him I was gutted but he said ‘you’re back fit, don’t worry about it’.
"He had his injury problems at Inter and AC Milan so he knew how important it was. He knew what I was going through as he saw me putting the work in to get back fit every day."
Woodgate returns to England.
The defender made just 14 appearances for the Spanish side before returning to English football with boyhood club Middlesbrough.
Speaking about his time with Los Blancos, Woodgate admitted that he considers his Madrid stint a "failure".
He confessed: "Failure is the one word I’d use about Madrid. When you sign for the biggest team in the world, you want to go there and make a difference, but I didn’t. Didn’t win any trophies there and I hardly played, so that’s why I’d put it down as a failure.
"When I look back on my career, that gets to me. More than anything. Because you’re on the biggest stage. And my body let me down."
Woodgate made featured eight times for England and made more than 350 professional appearances during his career.