Ex-Man Utd coach reveals Cristiano Ronaldo’s training secrets that paved route to stardom

The Portuguese winger arrived in Manchester in 2003 with a huge reputation.

Having shelled out £12.5m to bring him to the Premier League from Sporting Lisbon, United made the 18-year-old the most expensive teenager in British football history.

It was a risk that proved well worth taking for the Red Devils as, with technical coach Meulensteen’s help, he became one of the most lethal goalscorers to have ever played the game.

And, during an interview with Training Ground Guru, the Dutch coach explained how.

“We set about the process of making him aware about his position and making him understand what to do in different positions,” Meulensteen explained.

“We did a lot of work on finishing from different angles. I had a format where I divided the penalty area into zones and you think about what to do in each of the different zones – lace kick, chip, inside foot, one touch or two, do you move into a different zone and so on.

“Then you break down the key elements of what makes a good finish. So now he’s aware of position, the type of ball coming in, how he’s going to receive it and the type of finish.

“The free kick was another one he started to work on. That was his idea. The only thing I said was, ‘take a step to the side, so your approach is more natural with your leg.’ We filmed it so he could see the difference and he developed and evolved it. He wanted to get better and put the practise in.”

“Ronaldo positioned himself brilliantly. There was no arrogance, he was just a hard-working kid. He was very confident, yes, but it was through his work that he showed everyone, ‘I want to be the best player in the world and I will help you too’.”

Ronaldo scored 84 times in 196 appearances for United before making a then-world record move to Real Madrid worth more than £80m.

Since then, he has dominated the record books.

An astonishing tally of 407 goals in 396 games has propelled him into the conversation alongside Pele, Maradona and Lionel Messi as one of the greatest players of all time.