Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand recently opened up about how Cristiano Ronaldo managed to become the best player in the world.
Ronaldo is one of the greatest players in football history. However, his playing style changed during his career.
The Portuguese arrived at Old Trafford as a prodigious teenager known for his impeccable skills. His flashy footwork, jumps and other showboating tricks captured the public’s attention.
However, over time Ronaldo began to focus more on the end product rather than entertaining the audience. Today he is the top scorer in the history of international football (117).
Watch Rio Ferdinand talk about Cristiano Ronaldo:
Speaking to William Hill on the STRIPPED podcast, here’s what the former defender had to say (h/t newsable):
“The Ronaldo that people have seen in the last four, five or six years is not the Ronaldo that came to United. He was a showman. People came to the stadium saying ‘I came to see Ronaldo take me off my seat today.
“It’s like that, now, at the end of his career, it’s like ‘I come to see a moment in the game, where he (Ronaldo) decides the game’. Whereas before he could give you five , six, seven, eight, nine or 10 moments in the game, because he was just pure talent.”
Ferdinand was Ronaldo’s teammate during the five seasons the striker was at United during his first stint from 2003 to 2009. He added how training with veteran Manchester United players earlier in the Portuguese’s career forced the superstar to be more efficient. He said:
“He (Ronaldo) could score, he could create one, but it was just about making somebody stupid, he wanted to embarrass people, it was a joke, man, an amazing player, but he (Ronaldo) got enough punched in formation and enough drilled in formation by us, it got him to a place where he realized that actually the end product trumps everything.
“You can entertain to a certain extent, but you need an end product – and he left us as the best player in the world.”
Can Cristiano Ronaldo add value to Manchester United this season?
Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t started for Manchester United in the team’s last four Premier League clashes. To add to that, the former Real Madrid player has scored just one goal in eight games so far this season.
That said, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner remains a player capable of turning any game upside down. He opened his scoring tally for the season in the Red Devils’ clash against FC Sheriff in the UEFA Europa League.
Erik ten Hag hopes this is just the start of many more to come from the talismatic striker.