Cristiano Ronaldo is now a five-time Ballon d’Or winner with spells at Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus on his CV, but he had to be talked out of training while starting out at Sporting.
The Portuguese burst onto the scene after stepping out of a famed academy system in Lisbon. It did not take long for his potential to be noted, with Sir Alex Ferguson taking him to Old Trafford in 2003.
Ronaldo has put in an incredible amount of effort to reach that point, with an insatiable desire for continuous improvement having first been noted while still in his teens.
Tonito, who was on Sporting’s books as Ronaldo was breaking through, told Gazzetta Sport of the dedication shown by a modern day icon to being the best: “Cristiano was a kid, but he was just like the man he became: humble, ambitious, determined and professional beyond belief.
“During training, he’d turn heads among the veterans, and I’d say to him: ‘Steady, don’t overdo it…’ “I would also give him lifts [to and from training]. “But I’d have to wait an hour at the training ground, because he never wanted to leave. “I’d bang on the window of the gym and say: ‘Come on, Cris, it’s time to stop – it’s getting late!”