Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand recently explained how Cristiano Ronaldo managed to become the best player in the world.
Ronaldo is one of the greatest players ever to grace the beautiful game of football. However, his playing style has changed over the course of his career.
The Portuguese arrived at Old Trafford as a prodigious teenager who was known for his impeccable skills. His flashy footwork, stepovers, and other showboating tricks captivated the attention of the audience.
However, over time, Ronaldo started to focus more on the end product rather than entertaining the audience. Today, he is the highest-ever goalscorer in international football (117).
Watch Rio Ferdinand talk about Cristiano Ronaldo:
While talking 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 the last four, five or six years is not the Ronaldo who came to United. He was a showman. People would come to the stadium going ‘I have come to see Ronaldo get me off my seat today’.
“That’s what it was like, Now, at the back end of his career, it’s like ‘I’m coming 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 skill.”
Ferdinand was Ronaldo’s teammate for the five seasons the forward was at United in his first spell from 2003 to 2009. He added how training with Manchester United’s veteran players earlier in the Portuguese’s career forced the superstar to be more effective. He said:
“He (Ronaldo) might score, he might set one up, but it was just about making someone look stupid, he wanted to embarrass people, he was a joke, man, an unbelievable player, But he (Ronaldo) got kicked enough in training and drilled enough in training by us, that got him to a place where he understood that, actually, end product overrides 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 has not started for Manchester United in the team’s last four Premier League clashes. To add to that, the former Real Madrid man has scored only one goal in eight games so far this season.
That said, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner remains a player with the ability to turn any game around. He opened his scoring tally for the season in the Red Devils’ clash against FC Sheriff in the UEFA Europa League.
Erik ten Hag will hope that’s just the beginning of many more to come from the talismatic forward.