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    Cristiano Ronaldo is a nightmare team-mate who dictates players’ diets and forces pals to train after hours

    IT is no fluke that Cristiano Ronaldo became the best.
    After all, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has dedicated his life to football – pushing his body to the limit to get fitter and stronger.

    Cristiano Ronaldo shows off his incredible physique achieved through hard work and determinationCredit: AFP

    Ronaldo’s work ethic has left former team mates like Dimitar Berbatov in awe of his dedicationCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    The 35-year-old has left other pros in awe of his work ethic, as well as his diet – setting the benchmark for others to follow.
    Even his partner – the stunning Georgina Rodriguez – revealed she was “ashamed” training next to him.
    Ronaldo is a team mate who dictates what players eat and forces his friends to work just as hard as him… if they can!
    Here’s what they say about CR7.

    ARTHUR MELO
    Ronaldo’s Brazilian team mate at Juventus has been in the unique position of working with both the Portuguese superstar and his great rival, Lionel Messi.
    Former Barcelona midfielder Arthur revealed how the ex-Manchester United star encouraged him to eat healthily.
    Ronaldo also impressed Arthur with his efforts in training.
    “He trains like an animal, he doesn’t know when to rest and he encourages you to give your all,” he said.

    “He always tells me what to eat, not leaving anything to chance.”

    Juventus team mate Arthur revealed Ronaldo encouraged him to eat more healthyCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    PATRICE EVRA
    As former French left-back Evra once revealed, don’t ever go to Ronaldo’s house if he invites you round… you’ll only end up having to workout!
    Speaking to ITV in 2019, Evra said: “I would give advice to anybody, when Cristiano invites you for lunch at his house, just say no.
    “He once said, ‘Patrice, come over after training.’
    “I went, you know I was really tired, and at the table there was only salad and plain white chicken so I was like, okay, and water, not any juice.
    “We started eating and I was thinking some big meat would be coming after that but there was nothing.
    “He just finished and he stood up and he started playing with a ball, doing some skills and he said, ‘Let’s do some two-touch.’
    Evra added: “I was like, can I just finish eating? He said ‘No, no let’s play two-touch.’
    “We start playing two-touch. After that he said let’s go to the pool to swim, I was like okay… after going in the jacuzzi, the sauna, I’m done.

    Patrice Evra told a hilarious anecdote of how a dinner invite to Ronaldo’s home became a training sessionCredit: Reuters
    “I say, ‘Cristiano why have we come here, have we come here because we have a game tomorrow, or just for lunch?’
    “So that’s why I would recommend to anyone when Cristiano invite you to his house, don’t go – just say no because this guy, he’s a machine, he doesn’t want to stop training.”
    MEHDI BENATIA
    Over the years, Ronaldo has been labelled abnormal for the way he pushes himself physically – and is able to cope with the demands of high-intensity training sessions for club and when he has any downtime.
    Just ask his former Juventus pal Mehdi Benatia.
    The Moroccan once revealed this brilliant anecdote. “The two of us didn’t play and we were left on the bench because three days later we had another game,” Benatia recalled.
    “In the coach, on the way back, Ronaldo said to me: ‘What are you going to do now as soon as we get back?’ I replied: ‘It’s 11pm, I’m going home, why?’
    “And he added: ‘Don’t you want to have a small training session with me? I didn’t sweat in the game, I have to train. Don’t you want to keep me company?’
    “And again, I had to explain to him that it wasn’t possible, I just wanted to go home, sit myself down, in front of the TV.”

    Mehdi Benatia turned down Ronaldo’s invite of a workout session on their way back from an evening gameCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    DIMITAR BERBATOV
    Bulgarian legend Berbatov spent one season with Ronaldo at Old Trafford
    But he left quite the impression on the former Spurs star, saying he increased the competitive atmosphere at the club – and stayed away from alcohol.
    “I’ve been a lucky guy to share a season [with Ronaldo],” 
    “Training with him was like a war because I didn’t think about anything other than winning everything, including the little games we played,” Berbatov told Diario AS.
    “Cristiano was a good kid who increase the competitive atmosphere in the team.
    “At the Christmas parties we organised the players had a great time, but he was always very professional. I never saw him even take a drink. He took extreme care of himself.
    “You’d come to training and he’d already be in the gym. Then, he’d stay for extra work after training to work on his finishing, before going swimming and then returning the gym.
    “He was determined to be the best.”

    Dimitar Berbatov said Ronaldo didn’t touch alcohol at Christmas parties Credit: Getty Images – Getty
    LOUIS SAHA
    Louis Saha was a dedicated pro, who arrived early at Carrington to prepare for rigorous training sessions.
    But even the former French striker was stunned to see Ronaldo there an hour before him.
    “That guy is insane,” Saha told The Athletic.
    “If the session was at 10 am, I would arrive at 9 am, do my stuff. He would be there at 8.30 am doing his [injury] prevention and all that work, elastic band around his ankles.”
    “It was all about dribbling, two full pitch-lengths, super-fast,” he continued.
    “I couldn’t keep up. After two or three times back and forth I was out of breath.
    “The guy was so natural but as well as talent, he has an enormous desire to work hard.”

    Try as he might Louis Saha couldn’t beat Ronaldo to being the first person to arrive at trainingCredit: Getty – Contributor
    GEORGINA RODRIGUEZ
    During lockdown last summer it was his missus Georgina who became Ronaldo’s workout buddy.
    They were seen working up a sweat running up their driveway, as well doing punishing weight exercises in their home gym.
    In an interview with a Portuguese magazine, the Spanish beauty admitted it was embarrasing training next to him.
    “Initially I was ashamed about working out with Cristiano,” she said.
    “Imagine having to train in the same space as Cristiano?

    Georgina Rodriguez works out from her home gymCredit: Instagram

    Rodriguez said she felt ashamed training next to Ronaldo at firstCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Cristiano Ronaldo and Georgina Rodriguez in brutal hill sprints as pair train together while in coronavirus lockdown

    “I was used to working out at home when he went to train at his club so we could spend more time together when he returned.
    “But afterwards that feeling went and now I love exercising with him.
    “He’s become my greatest motivation and inspiration.” More

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    Seven football stars who supported rivals as kids after Man Utd legend Roy Keane reveals he was a Spurs fan growing up

    YOU don’t always get to play for who you support, you know.
    Very few footballers have played for their boyhood clubs. Recently, Jack Wilshere lived that dream with West Ham – he was an Iron as a kid.

    Roy Keane casually revealed he was a Spurs fan growing up on Sky Sports

    But Manchester United legend Roy Keane, amazingly, was a massive Tottenham fan growing up.
    Keane revealed on Sky Sports: “Growing up in Ireland, you were either a Man Utd or Liverpool fan… or Celtic.
    “Strangely enough, I supported Spurs. Not sure why, but I did.”
    Who else supported a rival team? Let SunSport reveal all.

    HARRY KANE
    No one loves Spurs more than Harry Kane.
    The goal-getter would probably bleed white if you cut him open, and he wears his heart on his sleeve whenever he plays.
    However, as a kid he wore an Arsenal shirt with pride – yes, Kane was a Gooner growing up.
    He even trained with the Arsenal academy before he went to Spurs.

    Harry Kane models an Arsenal shirt as a kid
    KEVIN DE BRUYNE
    Growing up in Belgium, it’s likely De Bruyne might not have even heard of Manchester City.
    But as a pro, he has dedicated himself to the blue half of Manchester.
    As a kid, however, it was different. The playmaker was a HUGE Liverpool fan.
    He reportedly slept underneath a Liverpool duvet, wore the club tracksuit, and had a Michael Owen replica shirt.

    Kevin De Bruyne was Liverpool obsessed as a boy and had a duvet with the club’s crest on itCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    JOHN TERRY
    Mr Chelsea won everything in the game with the Blues – and was their inspirational leader.
    Terry played every game for the club like he was playing for his boyhood team.
    However, it wasn’t Chelsea he followed as a youngster – instead he was Manchester United obsessed.
    Terry said: “I was Man United growing up, you know what it’s like when you’re a boy, you want to support the team that’s winning everything.
    “And my dad and granddad were Man United fans.”

    Chelsea legend John Terry supported Manchester United like his dad and granddadCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    GARETH BALE
    Bale hasn’t set the world alight in his second spell at Spurs.
    Is it because he’s remembered his secret passion for crosstown rivals Arsenal as a kid?
    The Welsh winger was obsessed by Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp.
    “I used to watch Arsenal a lot and I really enjoyed watching people like (Thierry) Henry,” he said in a TV interview last year.
    “I used to like watching Dennis Bergkamp as well. They had a great team – Tottenham fans won’t be happy that I am holding this (Henry’s Arsenal jersey)”

    Like Harry Kane, Gareth Bale loved watching Arsenal when he was a kidCredit: PA:Press Association
    JAMIE CARRAGHER
    Liverpool legend Carra played 737 times for the Reds in a glittering career.
    He won the Champions League, the FA Cup twice and the League Cup three times.
    But would he have rather have done all of that at the team he supported as a boy – Everton?
    “As a kid my life revolved around Everton, in 1985 and throughout my childhood, all I cared about was Everton,” he said in an interview in 2017.
    “I’d watch the 1986 World Cup. Everton lost the double that season to Liverpool. If you’d have asked me would I rather Everton won the double or England win the World Cup, Everton win the double every day of the week!”

    Jamie Carragher once revealed he wanted Everton to do the double over England winning the 1986 World CupCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    RAHEEM STERLING
    Sterling’s loyalty to Manchester City may be in question – with reports that he’s still not committed to extending his contract beyond 2023, although a verbal agreement has been slated.
    Could he do the unthinkable and move to, perhaps, the only club that could afford him – Manchester United?
    It’s a possibility because he did follow them before he became a pro.
    “I shouldn’t really say this – not now, definitely not now! – but when I was young I was a massive United fan,” Sterling once confessed.

    Raheem Sterling may play for the blue half of Manchester, but he supported the Red Devils as a kidCredit: AFP
    PAUL POGBA
    As a Frenchman, it would’ve been hard for Pogba not to follow his favourite players in the Premier League.
    And most of them played for Manchester United’s rivals, Arsenal.

    The likes of Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires were all heroes of self-confessed Gunners fan Pogba growing up.
    “I will be honest. So, at the start, I was an Arsenal fan – obviously because of all the French players, you know,” he revealed.
    But Pogba moved to Manchester United when he was 16, and the rest (including his love affair with Arsenal) is history.

    Paul Pogba was Arsenal obsessed when he was a youngster because of their French contingentCredit: Getty Images – Getty More

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    English footballers who have played in France, including David Beckham, Glenn Hoddle, Joe Cole, Ray Wilkins and more

    DELE ALLI could be the next English footballer to play in French football.
    The Spurs midfielder has been frozen out of Tottenham’s first team by Jose Mourinho, and has been linked with a move to PSG – where he would be reunited with Mauricio Pochettino.

    Dele Alli could be set for a move to French football with PSG and a reunion with Mauricio PochettinoCredit: –

    And Alli – or maybe that should be Allez – wouldn’t be the first star from our shores to try his hand at Ligue 1.
    Here are more players who hopped over the Channel – and whether they were a hit or a miss…
    DAVID BECKHAM
    In what his final season as a pro, Beckham felt the Louvre at PSG.
    He played fourteen times after signing on a short-term deal in January 2013 – memorably playing for free after donating his salary to local children’s charities.

    In his final home game for the club, he provided an assist from a trademark corner for a goal from Blaise Matuidi.
    Becks was subbed off on 80 minutes to a standing ovation – receiving hugs from his fellow players and managers.
    At the end of the season, PSG were crowned champions and Beckham got another winner’s medal.

    David Beckham retired at PSG and was given a hero’s ovation Credit: Getty Images – Getty
    TONY CASCARINO
    The ex-Millwall and Chelsea centre forward joined Marseille in 1994 at the age of 32, apparently with his best years behind him.

    However, Cascarino, who was born in England but played for Republic of Ireland, was a major success story in France.
    He won the Ligue 2 title with both Marseille and Nancy, where he scored 61 goals in 84 games and 44 in 109 respectively.
    He ended his career at Red Star 93, and still holds a Ligue 1 record for oldest to score a hat-trick, which he did aged 37 for Nancy.

    Tony Cascarino was a roaring success at MarseilleCredit: AP:Associated Press

    Cascarino holds the Ligue 1 record of oldest player to score a hat-trick at 37 for NancyCredit: AFP
    GLENN HODDLE
    Spurs legend Hoddle was made for playing overseas.
    A cultured midfielder, he took Ligue 1 by storm under boss Arsene Wenger, who gave him licence to roam around the pitch as a classic No10 for Monaco.
    Hoddle played alongside George Weah, and helped the principality become kings of France in 1988 and they reached the quarter finals of the European Cup a season later.
    A serious knee injury curtailed his final season in France, and he was released after scoring 27 league goals in 69 games.

    Glenn Hoddle won the league title at MonacoCredit: Getty – Contributor
    JOE COLE
    After falling out of favour at Liverpool, Cole decided to move to then-French champions Lille on loan in 2011.
    The former England international got to play with a young Eden Hazard, before he moved to Chelsea.
    And the pair combined well – with Cole being a relative success in France under boss Rudi Garcia, who wanted to keep him permanently after a season he scored nine times in all competitions.
    However, Cole felt he had unfinished business at Liverpool -returning to Anfield for a second chance with incoming manager Brendan Rodgers.

    Lille wanted Joe Cole to stay but he returned to Liverpool following a successful loanCredit: Reuters

    Cole played alongside Eden Hazard at LilleCredit: Reuters
    CHRIS WADDLE
    A year before the 1990 World Cup, Waddle took a gamble with his career and moved out of his comfort zone at Spurs to Marseille.
    The fee, £4.5million, was the third highest sum ever paid for a footballer at that time.
    But the winger didn’t buckle under the pressure and won three league titles with the club in his three seasons there, and was a runner-up in the European Cup.
    He earned the nickname “Magic Chris” among the fans, and was voted second best Marseille player of the century behind Jean Pierre Papin for the club’s centenary in 1998.

    Chris Waddle signed for Marseille for £4.5m in 1989Credit: Getty Images – Getty

    Waddle won three Ligue 1 championships with Marseille and was second in a fans’ vote for player of the century in 1990Credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
    JOEY BARTON
    After getting sent off in the final game of the season for QPR against Manchester City in 2012 – receiving a 12-game ban for having a go at several City players – Barton had to get away.
    The combative midfielder chose Marseille, who he joined on a season-long loan.
    However, his ban was upheld in French football, so he could only play in the Europa League.
    But trouble followed Barton overseas, and in 2013 he was suspended for two games for for describing ex-PSG defender Thiago Silva as looking like an “overweight ladyboy” on Twitter.
    Barton returned to QPR a season later.

    Joe Barton got into bother at Marseille and was suspended for insulting Thiago SilvaCredit: PA:Press Association
    RAY WILKINS
    The late great ‘Butch’ made a success of himself abroad at AC Milan, where the Italian press eulogised him as a “serious and meticulous professional who was immediately appreciated for his long and precise passes”.
    However, he struggled at PSG when he was sold to the Paris club in 1987.
    Failing to dislodge Gabriel Calderon and Safet Susic from their midfield, he was limited to just 13 appearances – mostly from the bench.
    Wilkins moved to Scotland the same year after he was signed by Glasgow Rangers for £250,000.

    Ray Wilkins struggled for game time at PSG and left after a matter of monthsCredit: Offside Sports
    MARK HATELEY
    Like Wilkins, Hateley had a stint at AC Milan before he moved to French football.
    The English centre forward was signed by Arsene Wenger in 1987, and would spend three years there.
    Not only did he win the 1987-88 Ligue 1 title, Hateley also scored 22 goals in 59 league games.
    He returned to Britain in 1990 in a £1million deal with Glasgow Rangers, and played under Graeme Souness.

    Mark Hateley played alongside Glenn Hoddle at Monaco and was signed by Arsene WengerCredit: Icon Sport – Getty

    Hateley scored 22 goals in 59 league games in three seasons with MonacoCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    TREVOH CHALOBAH
    Should Dele Alli make the move to France, he would possibly have a mate there already.
    Chelsea loanee Chalobah is currently plying his trade at Lorient, where he is beginning to find his feet at right-back.
    So far Chalobah has played nine games for the club, although they sit rock bottom of Ligue 1.
    The England U-21 international will still be getting valuable first team football away from Stamford Bridge.

    Trevoh Chalobah is currently on loan at Lorient from ChelseaCredit: Icon Sport – Getty
    CLIVE ALLEN
    Serial goalscorer Allen flirted with French football for a brief moment from 1988-89 with Bordeaux.
    But the marksman was never one to stay somewhere he wasn’t happy, and moved back to England with Manchester City after just 19 games.

    Still, he managed 13 goals, so wasn’t a total flop, and Bordeaux fans were sad to see him leave.
    Allen would then go on to play for City, Chelsea, West Ham, Millwall, and Carlisle.
    There was even a short stint as a kicker for American Football team London Monarchs.

    Clive Allen’s brief spell at Bordeaux lasted just 19 gamesCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Jose Mourinho insists it is not up to him whether Dele Alli is sold in January amid PSG transfer links More

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    Real Madrid stars who quit club and showed they were world class elsewhere, including Rodriguez, Robben and Makelele

    JAMES RODRIGUEZ, Claude Makelele and Arjen Robben are just three players that have seen their careers improve after departing Real Madrid.
    Playing for the 13-time European champions is usually seen as the pinnacle of a footballer’s career, however the trio have shown that leaving the Bernabeu is sometimes for the better.

    James Rodriguez has starred at Everton after leaving Real Madrid last summerCredit: PA:Press Association

    Here SunSport looks at five players that have thrived since leaving Real.
    JAMES RODRIGUEZ
    The Colombian playmaker linked up with Everton last summer on an initial two-year deal, with Toffees bringing him in on a free transfer.
    Everton looked like a team transformed with the ex-Monaco ace in their starting XI.
    His stunning form led Madrid chiefs to become angry with Zinedine Zidane over his treatment at the player.

    Rodriguez joined Everton last summer and made an immediate impactCredit: Reuters
    CLAUDE MAKELELE
    Another player that swapped La Liga for the English top-flight, the defensive midfielder left for Chelsea in 2003.
    During his three season stay at Real, he won the league twice, while also winning the Champions League, Club World Cup and Uefa Super Cup.
    He was then instrumental in Chelsea’s title-winning campaigns in 2005 and 2006.
    Makelele left Stamford Bridge in 2008 to join Paris Saint-Germain after five trophy-laden campaigns, where he had his position named after him in honour of his dazzling displays.

    Claude Makelele (right) joined Real Madrid in 2000 from Celta VigoCredit: AP:Associated Press
    ARJEN ROBBEN
    Signed from Chelsea in 2007, the Dutch forwad helped Madrid win LaLiga in his opening season, before notching in eight goals the following campaign.
    In the summer of 2009 he was forced out after the club brought in Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, with Bayern Munich signing him for £21million.
    And it was in Bavaria that he became one of the most feared wingers in Europe as he banged in 144 goals in 309 games.
    He called time on his career in Germany in 2019 after winning the Bundesliga title eight times, the Champions League once and the German Cup five times.
    Robben sits eighth on the list of Bayern’s all-time top goalscorers.

    Arjen Robben spent two years at the Bernabeu before moving to Bayern MunichCredit: Reuters
    CLARENCE SEEDORF
    Like Robben, Seedorf was forced out of the club in 1999 with the club in dire need of funds.
    Seedorf won the LaLiga title as well as the Champions League at the Bernabeu, but there was no room for sentiment as they offloaded him to Italy.
    Speaking of his move to Inter Milan, he said: “The club needed money, and I was the highest ticket.”
    He then joined AC Milan in a swap deal with Francesco Coco leaving to join Inter, and it was with the Rossoneri that the midfielder created history.
    After winning the Champions League in 2003 with Milan, he became the first person to win the European Cup with three different teams – the first being at Ajax in 1995.
    In 2007 he won the trophy again after Milan beat Liverpool 2-1, and in doing so, he was named as Uefa’s best midfielder.
    He left Milan in 2012 having scored 63 times in 431 games, where he also helped the club win the Serie A title twice.

    Clarence Seedorf was sold to Inter Milan in 1999 with the club struggling for fundsCredit: AP:Associated Press
    WESLEY SNEIJDER
    Another Dutchman that was shown the door by Real, the ex-Ajax maestro was deemed as surplus to requirements in 2009 following the arrivals of Kaka and Xabi Alonso.
    He subsequently joined Inter, where he won a historic treble in his first season.
    No other player assisted more times in the Champions League during the 2009-10 campaign, with Sneijder also named as Uefa’s Midfielder of the Year.
    That summer he helped Holland reach the World Cup final where they lost to Spain.
    As a result of his performances, he was awarded the Silver Ball after scoring five goals during the tournament in South Africa.

    Wesley Sneijder played for Los Blancos between 2007-2009Credit: AP:Associated Press

    Most expensive flop XI in Premier League history – including Sanchez, Kepa and Torres More

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    Cristiano Ronaldo is nightmare team-mate who dictates what players eat and forces pals to train after hours

    IT’S no fluke that Cristiano Ronaldo became the best.
    After all, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has dedicated his life to football – pushing his body to the limit to get fitter and stronger.

    Cristiano Ronaldo shows off his incredible physique achieved through hard work and determinationCredit: AFP

    Ronaldo’s work ethic has left former team mates like Dimitar Berbatov in awe of his dedicationCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    The 35-year-old has left other pros in awe of his work ethic, as well as his diet – setting the benchmark for others to follow.
    Even his partner – the stunning Georgina Rodriguez – revealed she was “ashamed” training next to him.
    Ronaldo is a team mate who dictates what players eat and forces his friends to work just as hard as him… if they can!
    Here’s what they say about CR7.

    ARTHUR MELO
    Ronaldo’s Brazilian team mate at Juventus has been in the unique position of working with both the Portuguese superstar and his great rival, Lionel Messi.
    Former Barcelona midfielder Arthur revealed how the ex-Manchester United star encouraged him to eat healthily.
    Ronaldo also impressed Arthur with his efforts in training.
    “He trains like an animal, he doesn’t know when to rest and he encourages you to give your all,” he said.

    “He always tells me what to eat, not leaving anything to chance.”

    Juventus team mate Arthur revealed Ronaldo encouraged him to eat more healthyCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    PATRICE EVRA
    As former French left-back Evra once revealed, don’t ever go to Ronaldo’s house if he invites you round… you’ll only end up having to workout!
    Speaking to ITV in 2019, Evra said: “I would give advice to anybody, when Cristiano invites you for lunch at his house, just say no.
    “He once said, ‘Patrice, come over after training.’
    “I went, you know I was really tired, and at the table there was only salad and plain white chicken so I was like, okay, and water, not any juice.
    “We started eating and I was thinking some big meat would be coming after that but there was nothing.
    “He just finished and he stood up and he started playing with a ball, doing some skills and he said, ‘Let’s do some two-touch.’
    Evra added: “I was like, can I just finish eating? He said ‘No, no let’s play two-touch.’
    “We start playing two-touch. After that he said let’s go to the pool to swim, I was like okay… after going in the jacuzzi, the sauna, I’m done.

    Patrice Evra told a hilarious anecdote of how a dinner invite to Ronaldo’s home became a training sessionCredit: Reuters
    “I say, ‘Cristiano why have we come here, have we come here because we have a game tomorrow, or just for lunch?’
    “So that’s why I would recommend to anyone when Cristiano invite you to his house, don’t go – just say no because this guy, he’s a machine, he doesn’t want to stop training.”
    MEHDI BENATIA
    Over the years, Ronaldo has been labelled abnormal for the way he pushes himself physically – and is able to cope with the demands of high-intensity training sessions for club and when he has any downtime.
    Just ask his former Juventus pal Mehdi Benatia.
    The Moroccan once revealed this brilliant anecdote. “The two of us didn’t play and we were left on the bench because three days later we had another game,” Benatia recalled.
    “In the coach, on the way back, Ronaldo said to me: ‘What are you going to do now as soon as we get back?’ I replied: ‘It’s 11pm, I’m going home, why?’
    “And he added: ‘Don’t you want to have a small training session with me? I didn’t sweat in the game, I have to train. Don’t you want to keep me company?’
    “And again, I had to explain to him that it wasn’t possible, I just wanted to go home, sit myself down, in front of the TV.”

    Mehdi Benatia turned down Ronaldo’s invite of a workout session on their way back from an evening gameCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    DIMITAR BERBATOV
    Bulgarian legend Berbatov spent one season with Ronaldo at Old Trafford
    But he left quite the impression on the former Spurs star, saying he increased the competitive atmosphere at the club – and stayed away from alcohol.
    “I’ve been a lucky guy to share a season [with Ronaldo],” 
    “Training with him was like a war because I didn’t think about anything other than winning everything, including the little games we played,” Berbatov told Diario AS.
    “Cristiano was a good kid who increase the competitive atmosphere in the team.
    “At the Christmas parties we organised the players had a great time, but he was always very professional. I never saw him even take a drink. He took extreme care of himself.
    “You’d come to training and he’d already be in the gym. Then, he’d stay for extra work after training to work on his finishing, before going swimming and then returning the gym.
    “He was determined to be the best.”

    Dimitar Berbatov said Ronaldo didn’t touch alcohol at Christmas parties Credit: Getty Images – Getty
    LOUIS SAHA
    Louis Saha was a dedicated pro, who arrived early at Carrington to prepare for rigorous training sessions.
    But even the former French striker was stunned to see Ronaldo there an hour before him.
    “That guy is insane,” Saha told The Athletic.
    “If the session was at 10 am, I would arrive at 9 am, do my stuff. He would be there at 8.30 am doing his [injury] prevention and all that work, elastic band around his ankles.”
    “It was all about dribbling, two full pitch-lengths, super-fast,” he continued.
    “I couldn’t keep up. After two or three times back and forth I was out of breath.
    “The guy was so natural but as well as talent, he has an enormous desire to work hard.”

    Try as he might Louis Saha couldn’t beat Ronaldo to being the first person to arrive at trainingCredit: Getty – Contributor
    GEORGINA RODRIGUEZ
    During lockdown last summer it was his missus Georgina who became Ronaldo’s workout buddy.
    They were seen working up a sweat running up their driveway, as well doing punishing weight exercises in their home gym.
    In an interview with a Portuguese magazine, the Spanish beauty admitted it was embarrasing training next to him.
    “Initially I was ashamed about working out with Cristiano,” she said.
    “Imagine having to train in the same space as Cristiano?

    Georgina Rodriguez works out from her home gymCredit: Instagram

    Rodriguez said she felt ashamed training next to Ronaldo at firstCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Cristiano Ronaldo and Georgina Rodriguez in brutal hill sprints as pair train together while in coronavirus lockdown

    “I was used to working out at home when he went to train at his club so we could spend more time together when he returned.
    “But afterwards that feeling went and now I love exercising with him.
    “He’s become my greatest motivation and inspiration.” More

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    Arsenal transfer target Karim Adeyemi rejected Chelsea to sign for RB Salzburg and was released by Bayern Munich at 16

    KARIM ADEYEMI wasn’t going to make it easy for himself.
    The talented winger, 19, was on the books at Bayern Munich before suffering heartbreak when he was released by his boyhood club for behavioural issues which he readily admitted.

    Talented winger Karim Adeyemi is attracting the interest of ArsenalCredit: AFP – Getty

    He is now at RB Salzburg and linked with a move to Premier League sides including Arsenal and Liverpool having snubbed a chance with Chelsea in 2018.
    Since making Austria his home, Adeyemi has blossomed into one of the most promising young players in Europe.
    He is being tipped to follow in the footsteps of Erling Haaland and Sadio Mane, who used Salzburg to propel themselves to bigger and better things.
    GERMAN-BORN MUNICH FAN
    Adeyemi was born in Munich to a Nigerian father and a Romanian mother.

    At eight he was scouted by Bayern Munich, where he rose through the ranks and impressed coaches.
    But off the pitch, things began to detoriorate.
    There were claims that his behaviour began to become difficult for his coaches to take.
    It was also said that Adeyemi’s parents had a strained relationship with Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

    “At Bayern it quickly became clear that there was a precise plan. If you, as a player, stepped out of line or did not stick to this plan, you usually received little support,” he told Goal.

    Adeyemi has rebuilt his career at RB Salzburg after he was released by Bayern Munich at 16Credit: Getty Images – Getty

    Bayern Munich were reportedly unimpressed with Adeyemi’s attitude as a youngster

    Adeyemi’s dad reportedly fell out with Bayern Munich’s hierarchyCredit: Instagram
    “It remains to be seen whether they [Bayern] felt I had a lack of discipline. I don’t think that was the decisive factor.
    “It just didn’t fit with Bayern anymore. We didn’t get along so well anymore. The relationship between my parents and the sports director at the time was no longer as it should be.”
    A REBUILDING JOB
    A gutted Adeyemi was released by the club he dreamed of playing for when he was just 16, and it would’ve been easy for him to fall by the wayside.
    Third-tier Unterhaching offered him another chance, and with Manfred Schwabl – who played at both Bayern and 1860 Munich – he found a mentor.
    Schwabl, now the Unterhaching president, saw first-hand the disruptive nature that was hampering Adeyemi’s progress.
    He put the talented teen on the right path, even banning him from training sessions if his attitude towards school work didn’t improve.
    “I was a very active child who needed a lot of leeway,” Adeyemi recalled.

    Adeyemi shows off the quick feet that have attracted Europe’s top clubs in action while playing for Germany’s U17 teamCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Adeyemi celebrates scoring in a Champions League tie against Lokomotiv MoscowCredit: AFP – Getty
    “I couldn’t keep still and always had to move. Then there was the fact that school was never easy for me. That not only got on my parents’ nerves, but also got on his [Schwabl’s] nerves.
    “There were often discussions about school, including with the club. At some point we got it right.
    “My excuse has always been, ‘The teacher is to blame’. I’m not a guy who can sit and watch at school for hours. I think I have now understood that I was responsible.”
    CHELSEA SNUB
    In 2018, after impressing at Unterhaching, Adeyemi had began to attract the top clubs, including Liverpool and Atletico Madrid.
    Chelsea even invited him and his parents to spend some time at their Cobham training ground
    But Adeyemi sensibly chose to sign for RB Salzburg – for a fee believed to be around £3million.
    “I think it doesn’t matter which club you play at – football offers a great platform overall,” he revealed.
    “If you are a good player who steps on the gas and shows their best in their performance, the clubs will see it.

    In 2018 Adeyemi snubbed Chelsea in favour of a move to RB SalzburgCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Adeyemi has become one of the most promising talents in European footballCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    “I decided to continue playing at Unterhaching because I felt very comfortable. A move to Chelsea would not have been a sensible step at the time.
    “Of course I am happy when such clubs signal interest, but I just wanted to play football. My team-mates were always behind me.

    “Of course it is a bit uncomfortable when the other players ask, ‘Is it true that club X is interested?’. I was often asked about it at school. I didn’t really want to talk about that.”
    Adeyemi has two goals and four assists in 12 games this season for Salzburg since cementing his place in the first team set-up.
    With such a rapid rise, it won’t be long before he’s ready for the bigger stage. And maybe one day he will make Bayern Munich regret their decision to let him go.

    Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski delighted with FIFA award after outstanding year More

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    Boca Juniors are champions of Argentina again, and ex-Man Utd star Carlos Tevez could call time on his amazing career

    Boca Juniors won the Argentine title on Sunday night. Even so, it was a tough week for their star man Carlos Tevez, and it could even mark his last one as a professional footballer.
    Approaching his 37th birthday, there were times when it seemed that Tevez would not get this far. The former West Ham, Man United and Man City striker looked all washed up in 2019.

    Carlos Tevez celebrates winning the Argentina championship with Boca Juniors on SundayCredit: AFP or licensors

    Tevez has had a torrid time recently with the death of friend Diego Maradona and his father seriously ill after suffering from CovidCredit: AFP or licensors

    He was often a reserve, and was sometimes not even the first attacking option off the bench.
    In came coach Miguel Angel Russo, who recognised that Tevez needs to feel important, that he thrives on being the go-to player.
    Russo made Tevez the centrepiece of his attack, and the veteran responded with a series of strong performances and vital goals as Boca won the league title for 2019-20.
    The real aim, though, was winning the Copa Libertadores, South America’s Champions League.

    Boca’s last triumph had come, under Russo, in 2007. Four years earlier Tevez had made his name in the club’s previous Libertadores win. Another lap of honour this time would be a wonderful way to book-end his career.
    And it took on extra importance at the end of November when Diego Maradona died. Tevez and Maradona were very close.
    Boca fanatics born on the wrong side of the tracks, they shared a bond – and even shared a kiss last year in celebration of that league title.
    In the first game after the passing of Maradona, Tevez scored the only goal, took off his number 10 Boca shirt – and revealed another number 10 Boca shirt, one worn by Maradona back in 1981 that he had given to Tevez.

    It was on the wall in his house, and Tevez had to break the frame to take it out.
    But last Wednesday the Libertadores dream came to an end. Boca had been held to a goalless draw at home to Santos of Brazil in the first leg of the semi final. In the return game they went down 3-0.

    Ex-Man Utd star Tevez had a tight bond with MaradonaCredit: AP:Associated Press

    After scoring against Internacional Tevez revealed a jersey worn by Diego Maradona back in 1981Credit: Getty – Pool
    Tevez made little impression, and cut a disconsolate figure as he trudged off the field at the end of the game.
    He had extra reasons for sadness. His father has struggled for some time with Covid complications, and is currently seriously ill.
    Boca were preparing for Sunday night’s final of the latest Argentine league – a tournament improvised because of the pandemic which has taken on the name of the Copa Diego Armando Maradona.
    But Tevez was not with them on Saturday when they flew up to San Juan, on the border with Chile, where Boca would face Banfield.
    He stayed with his family, making his way to San Juan on the day of the game. This time he would have to settle for a place on the bench.
    He was not brought on until the 85th minute, with Boca defending a 1-0 lead. It all went wrong.
    Left back Emanuel Mas was sent off, and Banfield squirmed home an equaliser with the last attack of the game. The title would be decided on penalties.
    The mind of Tevez must surely have gone back a decade. In 2011 Argentina hosted the Copa America.

    Boca Juniors players celebrate their penalty shootout triumph over BanfieldCredit: Getty – Pool

    Tevez, now 36, may decide to call time on his illustrious careerCredit: AP:Associated Press

    Their semi final against Uruguay was drawn and went to penalties. Tevez was the only man to miss, and Argentina crashed out.
    This time he was not willing to wait. He stepped up to take the first penalty, steered it safely into the keeper’s bottom left corner and then watched as Boca won 4-3.
    He was sent up to collect the trophy – and must surely be tempted to call it a day.

    Watch Carlos Tevez pay emotional tribute to Diego Maradona at Boca Juniors after Copa Libertadores goal More

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    Schalke’s Matthew Hoppe, 19, is first American to score Bundesliga hat-trick and was schooled at Barcelona’s US academy

    THAT’S one way to announce yourself.
    On January 9, Matthew Hoppe did something no other American had done before him in the Bundesliga.

    Matthew Hoppe, 19, is the first American to score a hat-trick in the BundesligaCredit: Reuters

    Hoppe is congratulated by Arsenal loanee Sead Kolasinac in Schalke’s 4-0 win over Hoffenheim – their first win in nearly a YEARCredit: Reuters

    And that’s counting the likes of forwards Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Eric Wynalda, Landon Donovan and Clint Mathis, who all established themselves in German football.
    Hoppe, just 19, became the first player born in the USA to score a hat-trick in German’s top flight – netting three in Schalke’s 4-0 demolition of Hoffenheim.
    Incredibly, the 6ft 3in target man only made his senior debut a month prior to his record-breaking goalscoring exploits.
    But clearly Hoppe has a bright future ahead of him – one that could’ve been with Barcelona.

    UNIVERSITY? NO THANKS
    In 2019, Schalke gambled on the powerfully built forward by offering him a trial.
    At the time, he was training with Barcelona in Arizona – where the Catalans have a US academy that offers the same level of coaching as at La Masia.
    He had scored 29 goals in 23 games in 2018-19, and was accepted for a place at San Diego University.
    After impressing coaches, Hoppe was offered a youth contract and the youngster decided to turn his back on his education and moved to Germany.

    Schalke signed Hoppe in 2019Credit: Reuters

    USA teen Hoppe learned his skills at Barcelona’s US academy in Arizona

    DREAM START
    Hoppe could not have imagined he would’ve got a chance to shine so soon for Schalke.
    But with the club winless for almost a YEAR and rooted to the bottom of the Bundesliga, they really had no other option.
    They had also sacked Vedad Ibisevic in November, Goncalo Paciencia suffered a knee injury and Welsh youngster Rabbi Matondo, 20, failed to find his feet and was loaned to Stoke City.
    Hoppe was thrown in at the deep end – making his debut against Borussia Monchengladbach in a 4-1 defeat in November.
    Then, former Tottenham boss Christian Gross took over the reigns at Schalke (the club’s fourth coach this season) and pinned his faith in the promising talent.
    After three appearances from the bench, Hoppe started the next two under the Swiss manager.
    And he came alive in the second – netting three times in that Hoffenheim demolition, which ended an astonishing run of 30 games without a win.
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    In only his second start Hoppe was in prolific form for Schalke netting three timesCredit: AFP

    Hoppe himself was left speechless by his own achievementCredit: Reuters

    At the full-time whistle, Hoppe was speechless in the post-match interview.
    “I have no words,” he exclaimed before drawing a huge gulp of breath and exhaling.
    It’s left Schalke fans full of Hoppe for the future.

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