Former Manchester United coach Tony Coton has gone on to reveal that Cristiano Ronaldo was handed tough love at Old Trafford in order to toughen him up.
Following the high profile sale of David Beckham to Real Madrid, Manchester United brought in an unknown young player in the form of Cristiano Ronaldo as his replacement and the Portuguese was so highly regarded that he was immediately handed the iconic number 7 jersey at Old Trafford despite his tender age of just 17.
It is well documented what Ronaldo went on to achieve during his time at United before leaving for Real Madrid back in 2009 but the attacker certainly had a lot of improving to do when he initially arrived at Old Trafford in order to reach the heights he has done today.
Ronaldo was a skinny player who used to go to ground very easily as well as complain to the referee when strong tackle was made and former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson most certainly did not like such a negative attribute of the young man at the time.
Therefore in order to toughen up Ronaldo, former United coach Tony Coton has gone on to reveal that he allowed the likes of Roy Keane and Rio Ferdinand to exact harsh treatment on the attacker and as a result, the 32-year-old acquired the mentality to achieve such wonderful success later on in his career.
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. 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.
“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. 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.”