Early days at Sporting Clube
Fernando Santos had several curious anecdotes to tell about the days he spent as Cristiano Ronaldo's coach at Sporting Clube de Portugal in an interview with Rio Ferdinand today. The Portugal coach said even then he attempted to tone down some of the more extravagant aspects of the young forward's game.
Great jumper, poor header of the ball
"When he joined Sporting I told him that under me, he would always be in the team and play but he'd have to stop all of those 'circus tricks' of his. I also told him that he had a lot of things he needed to improve. I said to him: 'For someone who jumps so much, you don't score many headers!'", Santos recalled.
Should have kept Cristiano a secret
If Santos still has one regret, he says he would never have fielded the teenage Cristiano in that game against United - within two week's Sporting lost two of their key players - Cristiano and Ricardo Quaresma. "I was the coach when Sporting played United. I played Cristiano Ronaldo and later wished I hadn't. A week after that Quaresma left to join Barcelona then two days later Cristiano Ronaldo was on his way to Manchester. Back in those day, I could never have imagined that 13 years on, both of them would be crowned European champions with the national team", he ended.
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