How Neville, Keane and Co turned Ronaldo into a man at Manchester United

When Cristiano Ronaldo rocked up at Manchester United back in 2003, he was a far cry from the muscular specimen he is now.

The gangly teenager clearly had the talent and the skill, but he bulked up and toughened up during his time at Old Trafford.

So how did he do it? As well as working overtime on the training ground there was another contributing factor to his physical prowess.


According to former team-mate and United legend Gary Neville, Ronaldo was “battered” by his team-mates in training.

“Cristiano was butchered and battered for two or three years at Manchester United and he has said it made him a man,” Neville told talkSPORT.

“He didn’t arrive at Manchester United as someone who was setting the tone for everybody else.

Gamba Osaka v Manchester United - FIFA Club World Cup 2008
Ronaldo and former team-mate Gary Neville


“It wasn’t a case of he came in and all of a sudden everyone else upped their game, that’s not how it was. He became that out of what was in that dressing room.”

Ronaldo joined one of Ferguson’s tougher sides, with the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Roy Keane and Neville undoubtedly piling in on the tricky teenager during his early days at the club.

Can’t argue with the results though.


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