Cristiano Ronaldo has a stunning reputation for being extraordinary player compared to other free-kick takers in world football, and he owes a considerable measure of gratitude to his former team-mate.
Edwin van der Sar revealed that he used to stay back after every training session to help the Portuguese star sharpen his free-kick taking abilities, while they were colleagues at Old Trafford.
The duo played for the Red Devils between 2005 and 2009, winning two Premier League titles and the Champions League amid their time together under Sir Alex Ferguson.
While those seasons were the latter years of the Dutch legend, it was much of a developmental stage for Ronaldo, who went from a youngster to an extraordinary player compared to other players in the world, during his time in Manchester.
The Dutchman goalkeeper in an interview with ‘FourFourTwo’ magazine revealed that he played a little but essential part in his Ronaldo’s progress.
“Off the field, Ronaldo was focusing on everything extensively, such as resting up properly and strengthening his body,” Van der Sar said.
“After training sessions he would often work on his free-kicks and then come to me and say: ‘Edwin, can you go in goal?’
“I would tease him a lot and say things like: ‘You won’t score against me, Ronnie, you know it. Ask the reserve goalie, that’s better for your confidence.’
“He’d get agitated and reply: ‘No, no. You’ve got to go in goal!'”
The extra work on the training ground clearly worked wonders for Ronaldo, currently at Real Madrid, who is now one of the best free-kick takers in the game, and is renown for his unique ‘knuckleball’ technique.
And the man who helped him on his way has enjoyed his rise to the top of the footballing world and added: “Cristiano is a good guy. And the common perception of him is not a true reflection of his personality.”