Former France international Patrice Evra and former England defender Rio Ferdinand, who shared the dressing room with Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United, said the Portugal striker’s commitment to training and quest for perfection make him special and keep him ticking.
Talking on a podcast for ITV, veteran French fullback Evra shared a few anecdotes on Ronaldo, who scored a hat-trick in Portugal’s FIFA World Cup opening match against Spain.
Evra started off with a joke -- people should reject lunch invites from Ronaldo, he said.
"I would give advice anybody, when Cristiano invites you for lunch at his house, just say no," Evra said.
READ MORE | FIFA World Cup: Swiss Fouls Take Their Toll on Brazil Star Neymar
Evra was at Ronaldo's house for lunch after a game, and, there was only salad and plain chicken on the menu, while the afternoon was spent playing and going through a post-match recovery schedule.
"We start playing two touch. After that he said let's go to the pool to swim, I was like 'okay...' after going in the jacuzzi, the sauna. I'm done. I said: 'Cristiano why have we come here, have we come here because we have a game tomorrow, or just for lunch’?"
Evra elaborated that be it at home, on the training field, or at lunch, Ronaldo is relentless in his pursuit for excellence
READ MORE | FIFA World Cup First Impressions: Of Russian Pals, Ronaldo and Missing Hooligans
"I would recommend to anyone when Cristiano invites you to his house, don't go. Just say no because this guy, he's a machine, he doesn't want to stop training.”
Evra then remembered former England defender Rio Ferdinand’s game of table tennis with Ronaldo. The star striker was beaten and Ronaldo was so upset about the loss that he sent his cousin to buy a table tennis set and trained for two weeks. He then beat Ferdinand in front of everyone.
“So that's Cristiano Ronaldo, that's why I'm not surprised today why he wants to win another Ballon d'Or, why he wants to win the World Cup. Because he's an angry man," Evra said.
Ferdinand, who is a pundit for BBC in its World Cup show, remembered how Ronaldo was the first player he saw employ a personal nutritionist.
READ MORE | When Will France’s Million Dollar Babies Turn Up at FIFA World Cup?
"He was the first person I saw employing a nutritionist, a doctor, a personal physio, a chef," Ferdinand said during the pre- show for BBC ahead of Portugal's match against Spain. "They came and lived in his house more or less, he lived a couple of doors up from me. Go into his house it was like a carnival, people walking around, I used to think 'wow, what’s going on here'?
"But he invested in himself to become the best in the world and he left Manchester United as the best player in the world," added Ferdinand.
(With inputs from IANS)