- Ferdinand and Ronaldo played together at Old Trafford between 2003 and 2009
- Ronaldo emerged as a world-class star at Manchester United before moving on
- Ferdinand said he was shocked by Ronaldo’s dedication when he visited him
- ‘He was the first person I saw invest in a team,’ said his old United team-mate
Rio Ferdinand has revealed how impressed he was at Cristiano Ronaldo’s work off the pitch
Ferdinand and Ronaldo played together at Old Trafford between 2003 and 2009
Ronaldo’s work in the gym and with nutritionists has paid off handsomely over a fine career
Ronaldo joined United as a skinny teen in 2003 and quickly became one of the star men
Ronaldo celebrates with Ferdinand after scoring against Blackburn Rovers in 2009
Ronaldo, pictured playing for Real Madrid, recently passed the 700 career goals mark
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has given an insight into what helps Cristiano Ronaldo stay among the world’s best at the ripe old age of 34.
The pair played together at Manchester united between 2003 and 2009 and Ferdinand, speaking to Goal, said it is the team the Portuguese has employed that keeps him performing to the highest level, and on par with Lionel Messi.
‘For Ronaldo, [he is] 34 now and he is still at the top and he has been in the top two players in the world for more than a decade. He was the first person I saw invest in a team. I went around his house and I saw about 10 people in his front room. I said, “Who are these people? What’s going on?”
‘He said: “That’s my chef, that’s my physio, that’s the doctor and that’s my personal trainer”. He left Man United as the best player in the world.’
The defender, who signed for United from Leeds in 2002, said the likes of Ronaldo and LeBron James – who has enjoyed 17 seasons in the NBA – are at the pinnacle of their sports because of their dedication.
‘He was on the right track. They have both invested huge money in having the right team around them for their body and mind to perform at the highest level consistently,’ he said.
‘I think if you give young players advice, then I would say if you have the resources then invest in yourself like that.’
Ferdinand was reiterating a point he made to the BBC in June 2018 where he likened Ronaldo’s house to a ‘carnival’ due to the amount of people, his team, milling around.
The pair shared a street when they were at United and so Ferdinand got front row seats to the striker’s professionalism.
He told the BBC last year: ‘He is just a ridiculous professional, take the talent and put that to one side, you can have so much talent.
‘The mentality is key to everything about Cristiano Ronaldo, to sustain that level across 10-12 years, five Ballon d’Ors, winning all these trophies that he’s got.
‘To do that you need a particular mentality, the drive, the determination, to year on year try and improve. That’s what sets him apart. That’s what makes him special,’ he said.
Ronaldo, now playing for Juventus, recently surpassed the 700 career goals-mark after a stint at Madrid that saw him leave the Spanish capital as the club’s all time leading goal-scorer.