Former Man Utd coach Mick Clegg believes Cristiano Ronaldo used the Red Devils as an “apprenticeship” on his road to superstardom.
The Portuguese forward joined United from Sporting Lisbon in 2003, spending six seasons at Old Trafford honing his skills before Real Madrid came calling in 2009.
Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t stand in Ronaldo’s way, and the star joined Los Blancos in what was then a world record £80million deal.
Ronaldo learned more than just how to score goals during his time at Old Trafford, with power development coach Clegg working closely with the Madeira-born ace to improve his game and his physique.
A decade on from leaving United himself, Clegg has spoken about how the Juventus goalscorer used the Red Devils as a stepping stone on his path to superstardom.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: “The thing about Cristiano when he was at United – I know that he came to use United as an apprenticeship.
“Carrington was a hill at the back just away from the training ground and he used to go behind the hill and do his training on his own.
“I asked him about that one time and he said ‘there’s nobody there so I don’t have to worry if I do a skill wrong or anything; I can practise it and nobody’s watching.’
“So he’d practise everything for a few days or whatever and then he’d go and take it into training match
“I remember watching in matches he’d make a mistake, get caught or fall down and then he’d have the crowd shouting at him players shouting at him.
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“It didn’t bother him. He didn’t want to make mistakes of course, but then he would know this is the bit I’ve got to work on and he’d go on and work on it.”
Ronaldo made his last appearance for United in 2009, but 12 years on, there’s growing clamour for the superstar to return to the club that made his name.
The 36-year-old has 12 months left on his contract at Juventus and will be available for transfer this summer – if the price is right.
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