Ronaldo interview with FS magazine ()Ronaldo interview with FS magazine () © Copyright

Ronaldo tells us how he became the world's greatest athlete

As Cristiano Ronaldo powers his way to a fifth consecutive goal-a-game-or-better season, FS flies to Madrid to watch him sleep, eat and train. To read more from CR7 about his nutrition and his important sleep regime check out the full feature in June's Forever Sports magazine... 

CR7

“Every house I’ve owned has had a gym in it,” says Ronaldo. “I used to use it more but now it’s for recovery. If my friends want to go to my house and use the gym, they know they can always do that: it has everything for a full workout. Obviously I have training at the club every morning, and the facilities there are unbelievably good, so most of my work is done there.

“I was born in Madeira – it’s an island and you can see water from everywhere. People say I became a massive fan of swimming when I was in Manchester, but I was swimming for conditioning well before that.

“Manchester United was the first club I played for with really world-class, incredible conditions for developing my body, and part of the recovery work there was done in the water, so that’s where I really learned to do it. I still swim pretty much every single day.

“I understand my body. I know its limits, I’ll probably stop playing two games a week one day, but right now, I’m enjoying doing that. Playing football is the thing I enjoy doing. I can make people happy doing it, and that’s a good thing, right?

“The pain is the worst part: if you ask any other player, they’re going to say that. You have to be strong in mind to train hard every day and to play every weekend. You’re going to feel it because the body isn’t used to this kind of stuff.

“If younger players want conditioning advice, I’ll speak to them. I had advice when I was younger from the older players in Manchester. You can tell them things, but it’s all about the individual; how much they actually want to do things themselves. Some follow my advice, others don’t. It’s up to them: they drive their career however they want.”

Ronaldo training ()

 

The fitness coach

Michael Clegg had been working as a conditioning coach at Man United for three years – and developed bespoke performance training programs for players like Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane – when a skinny 18-year-old Ronaldo entered the gym at Carrington. He looked around at what the senior players were doing, and approached Clegg.

“Right, I want to be the best player in the world. What are you going to do for me?” Clegg tells us what he had to work with. “Ronaldo was slim but strong. The swimming had made him stronger than a lot of 18-year-olds at the club. He was pretty good physically but he needed power, and to generate power, he needed more strength. We started off basic, but he was prepared to come in every day, sometimes twice a day on top of the other training he was doing.