Sir Alex Ferguson had to force Man Utd "genius" Cristiano Ronaldo to go home

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Sir Alex Ferguson had to shout at Cristiano Ronaldo to order him to leave training during his first spell at Manchester United.

Ronaldo's dedication to his craft has seen him become the game's greatest goalscorer and a five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

The 36-year-old has hit the ground running in his second spell at United, having scored crucial goals including the last-gasp winner against Villarreal in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

And his former team-mate Nicky Butt says Ronaldo's dedication was evident even after he first arrived at Old Trafford as a teenager, when he would stay behind at training for hours to practise his skills.

And in a new book, 'Viva Ronaldo', he revealed Ferguson even had to shout at the young star to get off the training pitch as the legendary manager feared he would burn himself out before games.

“He was the last to leave the building," Butt said in the foreword to the book.

"In fact, you couldn’t get him off the training pitch as he worked relentlessly on his techniques, as we all walking off he was carrying a bag of balls to work on those techniques.

“We would be having lunch in the canteen or getting ready to go home and you could hear the voice of Sir Alex bellowing across the training fields at two or three o’clock in the afternoon, shouting at Cristiano that it was time to get off the pitch as 'we have a game in two days – enough now'!"

It was Butt who made way for Ronaldo to make his debut from the bench against Bolton as an 18-year-old back in 2003.

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And he recalled how the Portuguese "genius" worked to develop both his world-beating technique and his famously ripped physique.

“Ronaldo was to emerge as a genius but it wasn’t just about his talents that took him right to the top," Butt said.

“He didn’t have a God-given physique, he worked hard to achieve it. He actually came to us as a skinny, scrawny young kid, and worked hard to get that physique over many, may years.

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“He had to reach a new level of physical strength because the Premier League demanded it, and he had plenty of opportunity to see at first hand how physical and tough it can be when he was up against, even in training, the likes of Roy Keane and Jaap Stam.

“We would also see him work relentlessly on his free kicks and he would tell us about something he had seen somewhere, and he wanted to perfect it, and he would work again relentlessly until he did.

“It all went beyond dedication, he was obsessed with football."

  • Champions League
  • Premier League
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Sir Alex Ferguson
  • Manchester United FC

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