Cristiano Ronaldo received the hairdryer treatment just once from legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
The 37-year-old has worked under numerous coaches for each of his four professional clubs, not getting on with Rafael Benitez at Real Madrid or Maurizio Sarri at Juventus. Insiders say it was because they treated him like a ‘normal player’, where Ronaldo needs to feel loved and special.
One man who ultimately mastered this was Ferguson. Ronaldo refers to Ferguson as a ‘father figure’ and the pair share a strong bond to this day. That doesn’t mean he escaped his infamous hairdryer treatment, though.
Image Credit: AlamyRio Ferdinand, who won three Premier League titles and a Champions League in the same side as Ronaldo, recalled the story last year.
During the 2005/06 season, United travelled to Lisbon and the home of Benfica in a must win Group D match. Of course, Ronaldo had been a Sporting Lisbon player and was getting himself wound up for the occasion as Ferdinand recalls.
“The game became the Cristiano Ronaldo show,” Ferdinand said: “He was trying to show his skills and nothing was coming off. We lost and afterwards the manager absolutely destroyed him. ‘Playing by yourself? Who the hell do you think you are?’.”
It would prove to be a grounding for the player and an honest lesson which he took on board.
The impact Sir Alex Ferguson had on the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was massive according to the former defender now pundit, who played on that embarrassing night in the Estádio da Luz in a team that included Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney and van Nistelrooy.
Image Credit: AlamyFerdinand continued: “Ferguson was brave to do that. He knew Ronaldo was the key to us winning anything. A lot of managers would have been scared of taking him on.
“I never saw England managers hammering David Beckham like that, or Steven Gerrard, or Frank Lampard, or Wayne Rooney.
“But Ferguson would go for anyone. It didn’t matter if you were the main man, he’d open you up if you needed it.”
Ronaldo is back at United and is yet to score a goal in the Premier League this season.
He attempted to leave in the summer in search of Champions League football. There were no suitors in Europe however and his United deal is set to expire in 2023.