Edwin van der Sar has revealed that he used to stay behind after training to help the Portuguese star hone his free-kick taking skills, whilst they were team-mates at Old Trafford.
They played alongside eachother for the Red Devils between 2005 and 2009, winning two Premier League titles and the Champions League during their time together.
While those seasons were the latter years of the Dutch goalkeeper’s career, it was very much a developmental stage for Ronaldo, who went from teenage star to one of the best players in the world, during his time in Manchester.
And the Dutchman revealed to ‘FourFourTwo’ magazine that he played a small but important role in his progress.
“Off the field, Ronaldo was focusing on everything extensively, such as resting up properly and strengthening his body,” Van der Sar said.
“After training sessions he would often work on his free-kicks and then come to me and say: ‘Edwin, can you go in goal?’
“I would tease him a lot and say things like: ‘You won’t score against me, Ronnie, you know it. Ask the reserve goalie, that’s better for your confidence.’
“He’d get agitated and reply: ‘No, no. You’ve got to go in goal!'”
The extra work on the training ground clearly worked wonders for Ronaldo, currently at Real Madrid, who is now one of the best free-kick takers in the game, and is renown for his unique ‘knuckleball’ technique.
And the man who helped him on his way has enjoyed his rise to the top of the footballing world and added: “Cristiano is a good guy. And the common perception of him is not a true reflection of his personality.”