Sunday 22 September 2019

‘We told Ronaldo that Beckham was the real number seven’ - Rio Ferdinand reveals how Man United players used to taunt CR7

Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Manchester United on August 12, 2003
Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Manchester United on August 12, 2003

Tom Rooney

He’s now considered by many to be the world’s greatest player, but when Cristiano Ronaldo was still making his name at Old Trafford, he was subjected to merciless taunting from teammates.

Ronaldo’s preternatural goal-scoring with both clubs has made him synonymous with the famed number seven jerseys of Manchester United and Real Madrid.

However,  in 2003, when Alex Ferguson gave him the shirt previously worn by George Best, Bryan Robson and David Beckham, the then 18-year-old was told time and again by other United players that he did not compare to his predecessors, one in particular.

Speaking this morning on BT Sports’ Fletch and Sav, former skipper Rio Ferdinand explained how was among a group that tormented the young Portuguese.

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“We’d be in the changing room with him. Me, Quinton Fortune, Fletch (Darren Fletcher) and Wazza (Wayne Rooney), and we’d say, ‘Becks is the real number seven at the club, he’s the daddy,’ and he (Ronaldo)used to go mad.”

Ferdinand went on to say that it was that very desire to be the best which drove Ronaldo to become the phenom he has. 

“In training you could see it boiling up inside of him, because he was that desperate to become the superstar. He’d also use Messi, how they were head and shoulders above everyone else, but they’re still going at each other.

“The best players accept the challenge. The ones who see that challenge and roll their sleeves up, they go to the top,” he said.

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