Rio Ferdinand has revealed details behind Cristiano Ronaldo's desperation to be the best player in world football, as he gave an insight into the team he built around him to hone his physical conditioning.
Ronaldo has cited Ferdinand as being a big influence on him in his formative days at Manchester United and with the Portuguese superstar returning to Old Trafford last month, his former team-mate has suggested his professionalism off the field explains why he has been so successful on it.
"Even when Cristiano first joined us his intelligence to grow and his desire and his obsession to get better was something else," Ferdinand told William Hill.
"His desire to be the best was just relentless. I've never seen anything like it. Just a man possessed to get to the top and he would do anything to get there.
"I went round his house once and I walked in and he had about six or seven people sitting in the front room. I said to him, 'Cris, who are all these people?' He said, 'that's my personal masseur, my nutritionist, my doctor, my physio, my chef'.
"So, he had all these people and back then no one was doing that in the game. He was a visionary in that sense. He knew what it was going to take and if people were laughing at him for doing those extras at one time, by the time he got to be World Player of the Year, they were saying I'm going to copy that.
"He's just looking for every little detail that's going to enable him to improve. He'll send me a picture and he's doing deep water recovery sessions in the sea. He's driven two hours to get there when he was in Turin with Juventus. Other people are at home or out at dinner. He's just looking for that extra edge."
Ferdinand also suggested Ronaldo has shown a willingness to take himself out of his own comfort zone to reach the top.
"People never talk about Cristiano's bravery," he added. "He was brave to take risks, by which I mean he comes over to another country and he was brave to remain the person that he was. He didn't change really. Adapted, yes, but he didn't change his core self and his foundations.
"He became obsessive with the sport that he chose, which was football, and then he drilled down into details, which involved building a team around himself.
"I don't think he feels pressure, I think he expects it now. That's pressure straight away that he's put on himself when joining Manchester United.
"He's not dodging that question when he says 'I've come here to win trophies, if I don't it's a disappointment.' It's a great mentality to have."
Liverpool progressed into the Carabao Cup fourth round with a 3-0 victory at Norwich after Takumi Minamino hit a brace and Caoimhin Kelleher denied Christos Tzolis from the penalty spot in the first half at Carrow Road.