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"I never saw Ferguson scream at Ronaldo" at Manchester United

Cristiano Ronaldo's former teammate, Jonathan Spector has recalled his days training alongside the ex-Real Madrid star during his formative years at Manchester United.

Alex Ferguson and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Andrew YatesAFP

Aside from winning trophies, Sir Alex Ferguson was well known for giving his players the trademark ‘hair-dryer treatment’ during his 27 years as coach of Manchester United.

One of the most famous dressing room incidents ended with David Beckham suffering a cut to the eye after a furious Ferguson launched a boot in the midfielder’s direction, following an FA Cup defeat to Arsenal in 2003.

However one player that managed to avoid the worst of the Scotsman’ wrath was Cristiano Ronaldo, so reveals his former Manchester United team mate, Jonathan Spector, in an exclusive interview with

Ronaldo and Spector joined United in the summer of 2003. And the U.S. defender claimed that both he and Ronaldo were two of the lucky few to avoid the coach’s berating, something he put down to Fergie’s excellent man management skills.

Cristiano Ronaldo has always maintained that Sir Alex Ferguson was a father-like figure to him.
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Cristiano Ronaldo has always maintained that Sir Alex Ferguson was a father-like figure to him.Getty Images

“It's funny, Ferguson never spoke to me that way either. I think Ferguson was incredibly clever with that because he knew how to speak to players, that they might not all react the same way to criticism,” said the 33-year-old, who now plays for Scottish club Hibernian.

“Some players responded well to an arm around, some players responded well when you got into them and he knew how to speak to players, so he was very clever with that. But I never saw him scream at Ronaldo, but I don't think it was preferential, he just knew the best way of getting the best out of his players.”

Man United players were key to Ronaldo’s development

Ronaldo today is regarded by many as the best player of his generation, along, of course, with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. But Spector, who was one the players who trained alongside him daily during his formative years, recalled how the Portuguese star wasn’t always the finished article.

Former United teammates Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo.
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Former United teammates Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo.AFP

Aside from Ferguson, he acknowledged the influence former United greats had on shaping and developing the player Cristiano was to become – the same players who were at first a little irritated by the young Portuguese player’s tricks and skills.

“He was a frustrating player. You could see that he had so much ability but that he wasn't a finished product just yet. I think he owes a lot for the player he is today not just to the manager but the players that were around him,” explained Spector.

“Ferguson did a great job of having players in the team that could help the players around them, make everyone around them better players. I think those formative years in his development to make him the finished product; he couldn't have been at a better place that Manchester United.

“You could see his final ball wouldn't quite be there, you could see at times Ruud Van Nistelrooy might get really frustrated because he didn't know how many step-overs Ronaldo was going to do before putting the ball into the box for him but his ability on the ball, to beat players one-on-one, it was clear to see that he was going to be a very special player.”


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