Cristiano Ronaldo has insisted his time at Manchester United played a huge role in his development.
The Portugal international joined United from Sporting CP in 2003 and matured into one of the best players in the world at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo, who eventually left United for Real Madrid in 2009, has now revealed that the guidance of players such as Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs helped him become the player he is now.
“Manchester was a huge education for me,” Ronaldo told The Times. “There were guys who always arrived for training one hour early. Scholes and Neville were incredible examples. Neville was the most professional player I saw. This is why these guys played in the top level for 10 years.
“People like Giggsy, too. I learnt from them. I would go to training early, too. I would do exercise, strength, abdominals, core: many things. That example from the older players, I took it.
“Sometimes, you try something different and you say, ‘Ooh, if I do that, then the ball is going to do this’. Everything was a lesson for me at that age. [Being at United] taught me to train hard all the time. To eat properly, sleep good, recovery sessions, everything. You have to dedicate yourself 100 per cent.”
Ronaldo worked with Alex Ferguson during his time at United and he has nothing but fond memories of his former manager.
“I learnt a lot from Sir Alex, too. One of the terms that I still remember today is ‘decision-making’.
“‘You are great, but you don’t have decision-making. Pass the f***ing ball.’ He always told me that. ‘Cristiano: pass the f***ing ball.’ I still have contact with him. He is a great guy, great coach, great human being.”