Wayne Rooney has lifted the lid on Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo’s pre-match routine, which involves his own reflection.
The England striker and Ronaldo were teammates at Manchester United for five years and, in seeing his new autobiography being serialised in the English media, Rooney has given an insight into Cristiano’s behaviour.
“There was a mirror by Ronaldo’s seat in the Old Trafford dressing room,” read today’s excerpt run in the Daily Mirror.
“In the time I was playing with Ronnie, the one thing I noticed about him was that he couldn’t walk past his reflection without admiring it, even if we were about to play a game of football.
“Every match, before the team went out for the warm-up, he ran through the same routine. The kit goes on, the boots go on. Not long after, Ronnie turns to his reflection and stares, psyching himself up for the game.
“If there’s one person with a -bigger self-belief than Ronaldo, I haven’t met him yet. He’s not shy.”
“He loves his clothes, and the clobber he wears is super expensive and covered in shiny logos – Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, you name it.
“He’s swaggered into training, looking immaculate from head to foot. He must spend a fortune on his wardrobe, but Ronaldo’s biggest love is football.”
Rooney also reflected on the Portuguese’s development at Carrington that prompted Real Madrid to break the world record to sign him in 2009.
“He told us he wanted to be the best player in the world, that he was desperate to be the greatest. Ronnie’s ambition wasn’t just talk either.
“In the changing rooms before the 2006-07 season I noticed something different about him. He was bigger. He had come back from the World Cup in Germany muscly and beefed up, like he’d been on the weights all summer.
“On the pitch in pre-season, he had started cutting out the fancy tricks and flicks, and finding an end product to his mazy runs.
“I know one thing – this change in Ronaldo hadn’t come about by luck. He works bloody hard. When I watched him train or saw him scoring great goals for fun in pre-season friendlies, I thought he really could become the best player in the world.”