During his early days at Manchester United, a young Cristiano Ronaldo once brought a can of coke to breakfast after training and his then teammate Ryan Giggs didn’t react well.
That’s according to former teammate and current United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who told former Middlesbrough, Sheffield United and Barnsley striker Jan Åge Fjørtoft in 2016 that Giggs took it upon himself to teach Ronaldo a lesson.
Solskjær: – CRonaldo came once to a breakfast with a coke in his hands. Giggs pushed him on the wall and said: – Don’t ever do that again!
— Jan Aage Fjortoft ?️? ?? (@JanAageFjortoft) July 30, 2016
“Don’t ever do that again!” Solskjaer recalled Giggs telling to Ronaldo after pushing him.
It’s not mentioned anywhere or even reported anywhere when the incident happened but we can definitely be sure that Ronaldo wouldn’t have bought a can of coke to training again.
In another instance, former United coach Tony Coton revealed that Ferguson allowed the United players to dish out a few kicks here and there in a bid to toughen Ronaldo up during his formative years.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Coton said: “Ferguson showed what he thought of this kid Ronaldo by handing him the club’s iconic No7 shirt when he signed him in 2003. But just as important was the gaffer’s ability to recognise his weaknesses. One flaw was his habit of falling to the floor like a rag doll every time he lost a tackle.’
He continued, “Sir Alex embarked on a mission to toughen him up. Members of the coaching staff were encouraged to turn a blind eye if they saw Ronaldo being fouled in practise matches and small-sided games.”
Coton added, “These games were intense and no prisoners were taken. Poor Ronaldo didn’t know what hit him as team-mates he’d been sharing a joke with him gave him the kind of treatment that was no laughing matter. When a free-kick was not forthcoming, he’d throw his hands up in outrage and sit on the turf muttering Portuguese curses while the game continued around him.”
He concluded, “Toughened pros like Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand would lambast him for being soft. It was tough love and slowly but surely, the message began to seep into our winger’s consciousness.”
Ronaldo went on to fire United to three consecutive Premier League titles between 2007 and 2009, along with the 2008 Champions League, FIFA World Club Cup and 2009 League Cup.