At 19, Cristiano Ronaldo was full of energy and skill and talent but not yet the legend he is now. Ronaldo had all the dribbling ability and soccer skills in the world at that young age, but the ability to score goals at will would take a bit of time to evolve. Soon though he’d be scoring incredible free kicks for Manchester United and make defenders who try to stop him fall down.
Watch the madness of Cristiano Ronaldo at 19. Madness as in the insane soccer skills Ronaldo possessed at that age.
Famously, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson let players kick Ronaldo in training to try to tough in up:
“One flaw was his habit of falling to the floor like a rag doll every time he lost a tackle,” Coton wrote in his new book “There To Be Shot At.”
“Sir Alex embarked on a mission to toughen him up. Members of the coaching staff were encouraged to turn a blind eye if they saw Ronaldo being fouled in practice matches and small-sided games.
“These games were intense and no prisoners were taken. Poor Ronaldo didn’t know what hit him as teammates he’d been sharing a joke with him gave him the kind of treatment that was no laughing matter.
“When a free kick was not forthcoming, he’d throw his hands up in outrage and sit on the turf muttering Portuguese curses while the game continued around him.
“Toughened pros like Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand would lambast him for being soft. It was tough love and slowly but surely, the message began to seep into our winger’s consciousness.”
As one YouTube commenter put it about Ronaldo, he was a legend in the making at 19:
“Those who say Cristiano Ronaldo has no talent proved wrong…this guy has incredible talent…it’s just the way he chose to develop his game and style to be more effective which is very smart..You saw Ronaldo the dribbler…Ronaldo the winger…the Ferrari…and Ronaldo the deadly forward…Ronaldo the MONSTER..I love this football player..it will be sad when he stops playing.”