Cristiano Ronaldo’s debut season at Manchester United was peppered with skill moves that frequently confused defenders – but they also injured one of his teammates in training.
Cristiano Ronaldo enraged Manchester United teammate Ruud van Nistelrooy during a training field altercation.
The upcoming five-time The Ballon d’Or winner had only recently arrived in England, and his flashy skills were at their peak. The techniques frequently perplexed Premier League defenders, but they irritated Van Nistelrooy when Ronaldo failed to pass to him during a training session.
Rio Ferdinand said about the then-youngster on BT Sport last year: “He used to get snapped in training, but I remember one time when he didn’t take it well.
“At the time, Ruud was the boss at United. He was the individual responsible for all of the goals. Ronaldo got the ball wide and was performing tricks while Ruud was making a run in the area. Ronaldo did not pass and Ruud went insane, yelling.
“‘He should be in the circus, not on the pitch,’ says one. ‘Why is he talking to me like that?’ asked Ruud as he strolled in off the training pitch, and Ronaldo became agitated and outraged.
“He was about 18 or 19 years old at the time. Some kids would have crumbled and lost confidence. Some would have continued to do so, but Ronaldo recognized that Ruud could be correct, and it became all about numbers, statistics, and goals. What will propel him to the top of the world’s rankings?
“We used to mock him and say, ‘You aren’t the genuine No. 7 at the club, you’ve got George Best and Beckham,’ and you could see him thinking, ‘How can I derail them?'”
During his initial time at Old Trafford, Ronaldo eventually toned down the tricks, implying that the spat with Van Nistelrooy had a positive effect as he developed into one of football’s greatest ever.
His goal threat rose, and he returned to the Red Devils last summer as a bonafide striker, rather than the winger he’d left the club as in 2009.
Ronaldo scored 18 Premier League goals last season and will be eager to improve on that total now that Eric ten Hag has joined the club.