Former United fullback Gary Neville has said that the early rough treatment Cristiano Ronaldo received in the Red Devils' dressing room moulded him into the professional he is now. Neville also stressed that the environment created by former coach Sir Alex Ferguson helped Ronaldo's development.
Six years before he signed for Real Madrid for a record fee of 94 million Euros, Cristiano Ronaldo landed in Manchester United as a humble 18-year old prodigy. The Portuguese did not have it easy once he arrived at the Carrington Training Ground. But, the initial hardships he was subjected to helped him on his way to
"Cristiano was butchered and battered for two or three years at Manchester United and he has said it made him a man," Neville told talkSPORT.
"He didn't arrive at Manchester United as someone who was setting the tone for everybody else. It wasn't a case of he came in and all of a sudden everyone else upped their game, that's not how it was. He became that out of what was in that dressing room,” he added.
Ronaldo soon transformed himself into a global superstar within the next few years as United won three consecutive Premier League titles from 2007 to 2009 along with two FA Cups and a Champions League trophy.
"He was setting the standards when he left and he became someone who would come in and do half an hour before training and an hour after training, but there had been 20 players per season for 15 years doing that every day,” Neville said.
The former United captain also praised Ronaldo saying that the 31-year old had provided United fans with some of the best football they have ever seen.
"If you look at his performances in the first two or three years, his maturity, his decision making, his physicality, his petulance, they were all smoothed out over a period of three or four years at the club. For two years, 2007-08 and 2008-09, I cannot believe Manchester United fans could ever have seen anything like that. He was just out of this