Man Utd fans snap up Ronaldo shirts at Old Trafford
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When Manchester United put out a video of Cristiano Ronaldo’s training session, fans immediately noticed him being put through his paces alongside Mason Greenwood. And seeing the two link up together is a rather exciting prospect. Especially given how their careers have played out so far…
Out of all of United’s young players, it’s Greenwood who appears to have the potential to be the next Ronaldo at the club.
Aged just 19 still, he’s been in fine form this term – scoring three Premier League goals from as many matches.
Now, Greenwood will be learning from United on the daily in the wake of the Portugal international’s Hollywood homecoming.
And, if he does make it at the very highest level, then a training ground fight with Alexis Sanchez will have played a role.
Firstly, though, Ronaldo.
The Portugal international had a training ground scrap with Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2006, shortly after the death of his father.
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And it contributed to the success he experienced in the years that followed, with Sir Alex Ferguson choosing to back Ronaldo instead of the Dutchman.
Rio Ferdinand recalled the incident in January this year, saying: “It didn’t happen instantly but he was unbelievably skilful and he was there to entertain the crowd.
“He loved doing skills.
“He used to get snapped in training but I remember one time, I think it was a good moment for him but he didn’t take it too well.
“Ruud [Van Nistelrooy] was the man at United at the time. He was the man who scored all the goals.
“Ronaldo had the ball wide and was doing tricks and Ruud was making the run in the box, Ronaldo didn’t pass and Ruud went crazy, screaming.
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“‘He should be in the circus, he shouldn’t be on the pitch,’ Ruud said, and walked in, off the training pitch, and Ronaldo got upset and angry – ‘Why is he talking to me like that?’
“He was 18 or 19 at the time. Some kids would’ve gone under and lost confidence.
“Some would’ve kept doing the same but Ronaldo knew that Ruud might be right and then it became all about numbers, about statistics, goals.
“What is going to make him the best player in the world?”
Van Nistelrooy later elaborated on the incident, insisting he was ‘wrong’.
“I know that I was wrong in that situation,” he said.
“I immediately walked into the dressing room and I sat next to him in the dressing room and apologised for my behaviour when I’d calmed down.
“That frustration is coming from somewhere and now when you’re 44, you look back on things and you know when things are going on around you, sometimes it can make you frustrated.
“In that incident, it led to a discussion with Cristiano but of course, you need to realise and be big enough to acknowledge that.”
Ronaldo toughened up from the experience and, fuelled by Ferguson’s faith in him, never looked back.
And Greenwood appears to be doing the same.
In December 2019, The Athletic claimed it was the bust-up between Sanchez and Greenwood that signalled the end to the former’s time as a United player.
The duo became embroiled in a spat after Greenwood had gone in hard on the Chile international – much to his displeasure.
And the report says that, immediately afterwards, Solskjaer decided to stick by Greenwood.
He ultimately then sold Sanchez, believing Greenwood was a better option.
And, like with Ferguson’s decision to offload Van Nistelrooy after his Ronaldo row, Solskjaer’s own call has been vindicated.
Now, Ronaldo and Greenwood will be team-mates.
And the duo have the potential to strike up one of the best attacking partnerships in the whole of world football.
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