Nicky Butt reveals Sir Alex Ferguson had to force ‘obsessed’ Cristiano Ronaldo to leave Manchester United’s training ground during his first stint at the club because he was TOO committed
- Nicky Butt was replaced by Cristiano Ronaldo on his 2003 debut at Old Trafford
- The Man United star rose to the top and established himself as one of the greats
- The Portugal international owes his success to his ‘total dedication’ to the game
- Ronaldo’s return ‘home’ has created an incredible buzz, according to Butt
- Butt wrote the foreword in Viva Ronaldo!: The Second Coming of Cristiano
Cristiano Ronaldo spent so much time on the training pitch that Sir Alex Ferguson ordered him to leave, former team-mate Nicky Butt reveals.
The former Red Devils boss feared the United star would overload himself before matches with his relentless practice of perfecting his techniques.
Butt gave way to Ronaldo in the 61st minute as the future United legend dazzled on his 2003 Old Trafford debut.
In the book ‘Viva Ronaldo’, Butt reveals that it was not only pure talent that fueled Ronaldo’s rise to the top, but also his dedication to the game.
Sir Alex Ferguson (left) forced Cristiano Ronaldo (right) to go home for training too much
The Portuguese star has become legendary and established himself as one of the biggest in the game. But he owes his genius to his “total dedication” and “total dedication” to the game 24/7.
“He never had a girlfriend then, or seemed interested in those kinds of distractions. He never had a wife and kids to rush back to see or entertain. He lived alone,” Butt says, via The sun.
“He was the last to leave the building. You couldn’t even get him off the training field because he worked relentlessly on his techniques, as we all walked away he was carrying a bag of balls to work on those techniques.
Ronaldo replaces Nicky Butt (left) on his dazzling debut in 2003 against Bolton Wanderers
“We would have lunch in the cafeteria or get ready to go home and you could hear Sir Alex’s voice roaring across the training fields at two or three in the afternoon, yelling at Cristiano that it was time to step off the field.” like ‘we have a game in two days – enough now’!’
Many players discuss their dedication and the extra practice they’ve put in, but it’s often just appearances, Butt claims. While for Ronaldo it went beyond dedication, bordering on obsession.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was ‘obsessed’ with training, relentlessly practicing free kicks and new techniques until he perfected them
Ronaldo was the last of his teammates to leave the training pitch while he worked relentlessly
Ronaldo arrived at Old Trafford without the divine physique we see him today, but rather as a lean, skinny youngster, according to the former United man.
But he strove to reach the physical levels that matched the intensity and pace the Premier League demanded, and worked hard until he met them.
When Butt was replaced by Ronaldo, he offered the future star on the sidelines a few words of encouragement and said: ‘Good luck, enjoy it’.
Ferguson yelled at Ronaldo to stop: ‘We have a game in two days – enough now!’
The first-team development chief said he and his team-mates knew it wouldn’t be easy for an 18-year-old to make the transition from Portuguese football to a more physically demanding Premier League.
But the youngster quickly won Old Trafford allegiance with his trickery, dribbling and promise.
According to Butt, Ronaldo has returned to the club at the right time and has created an ‘incredible buzz’ in the hopes that he can help the Red Devils rediscover their successful winning formula.