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Date & time Jun 20
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How Cristiano Ronaldo was reduced to tears

Cristiano Ronaldo, with his funny broken English, hung around with the group of Manchester United's Spanish speaking players when he first arrived Quinton Fortune, Diego Forln and Ruud Van Nistelrooy with whom he enjoyed a positive initial relationship; and later goalkeeper Ricardo, fitness coach Valter di Salvo, Gerard Piqu and Gabriel Heinze. But everyone 'got' him straight away. "He walked with his chest out. He was so confident. His eyes looking straight into yours," recalled Phil Neville.

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Many youngsters had passed through that dressing room without daring so much as to look up at Roy Keane, Gary Neville or Ryan Giggs. "Bloody hell, this lad,van cleef and arpels fake bracelet," thought Neville when he saw how Ronaldo looked him straight in the eye. "I likened him to Cantona. Cristiano arrived here saying, 'This isn't big, this is just where I belong.'"

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Of course, such behaviour comes at a cost. The new boys usually dress discreetly, for example. Not Ronaldo. His dress sense, with very visible branding, did not seem to fit in. The jokes were flooding in from day one.

"He would just wear the tightest clothes. Armani or whatever, and the jeans were the tightest ever. It was probably the style in Portugal. We'd say to him, "Any room down there in that area?'" explained Fortune. "Ronnie, you need to look at yourself."

They would take the mickey out of his hair and shoes. His almost see through T shirts. His sunglasses. His teeth and skin. He quickly decided to have extensive orthodontic work done on his teeth and use skin care products. "He overdressed for training," revealed Gary Neville. "But I look back and think: 'Those were high standards.'

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"As a young boy, the youth coach Eric Harrison said that we represented Manchester United whatever we did, that we should always be smart, always wash our hair, always look clean shaven. I never really carried it through to that extent, but Cristiano always looked immaculate,van cleef rose gold replica bracelet, always wanted to have very clean boots, perfect training kit, perfect hair, the best clothes even into training."

Ronaldo would get vexed the worst thing you can do. "We got a reaction from him, so we kept doing it," recalled Fortune. "If he'd just ignored us, I think we would've stopped. Someone would say 'we've heard you're just keeping that shirt warm for David Beckham. And you can use his locker till he comes back. He's not going to be happy when he comes back.'"

"All I know,' said Gary Neville, "is one, he had a locker; two, there just happened to be a mirror there on the column around the corner opposite where he got changed; and three, he liked it."

Kit man Alec Wylie, one of those masters of small details, has the last word. "The old dressing room was very small and we had it rejigged. There was only one mirror in the bathroom, so Stu, the maintenance lad, put a full length mirror in there. Cristiano, when the players returned to the refurbished changing room, had to have that locker. Since then he couldn't walk past it without checking himself out."

Conquering the rondos

"Players have been broken in United training," revealed Phil Neville. "Especially in the boxes the rondos."

People think rondos is a simple game to warm up before training. A bit of fun. How wrong they are. It is where relationships are created, hierarchies are established. It confirms the player's ability in small spaces and his reaction speed. It helps build the style the coach wants to implement. It also challenges new arrivals.

When he made it into the first team, Phil Neville had to control devilish passes that were fired at him by Ryan Giggs. Phil looked at him as if to say, "Mate, there's no need." The response was the silent treatment with a penetrative stare into his eyes.

"If you come with a price tag, as soon as you miscontrol it, it's like, 'How much did you cost?' we paid too much, we signed the wrong player," revealed Ryan Giggs.

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There was, and still is, a Champions League box (also known as the millionaires' box) and a foreign one (the cheap box) at United; sometimes there was one for the younger players. On his arrival, Cristiano joined the one that the veterans named 'Championship', which was full of foreign players,van cleef & arpels fake alhambra bracelet, but not the crme de la crme: David Bellion, Louis Saha, Kleberson, Eric Djemba Djemba, Diego Forln, Quinton Fortune.

Those 'secondary' players enjoyed the Championship box. It was not overly intense, they could try out new things and have a laugh. The veterans looked at them askance. Eventually Cristiano had to move boxes. Not as an invitation, but as a progression: it was a sign that his hierarchical position was changing.

When Ronaldo joined the Champions League box, he spent long periods in the middle chasing the ball. "He didn't like defending," said Phil Neville. "So we tried to make him run after the ball for as long as we could."

When he was in the circle, passes would be fired at him that he could not control and he would have to return to the middle. Or if he nutmegged somebody, he would receive an x rated tackle that he would have to dodge for his troubles. Then, one day, he started receiving good passes: he had earned the veterans' respect.

"It probably took 18 months,van cleef and arpels fake alhambra bracelet," stated Phil Neville. "When David Beckham went to Real Madrid, they played little rondos and he used to fire balls through the middle. The foreign players used to laugh at him, 'Ah, an English pass!' because they're all tippy tappy around the circle. I think Ronaldo was the start of a change in mentality. He introduced a new way of doing the rondo."

Instead of practising his passing, Ronaldo would practise his technique. He would roll his foot over the ball, faking it one way and dragging it another. Or he would play it through his own legs, or do a back heel. It would rile the British players. "You'd think, 'He's taking the mickey out of me here,'" recalled Neville.

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Some believe that those unwritten rules are the way in which average players can survive at United by slaughtering any ounce of talent but it is also a way of understanding football. At United, you always have to think about the most efficient way to kill off the opposition.

"We were winning 4 0 at Old Trafford, and he tried to flick it or dink it for a goal, rather than just finishing it in the corner and winning 5 0," said Gary Neville. " I remember chasing after him and screaming at him, 'You don't do that.' He'll remember it."

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