Not everybody was convinced by Cristiano Ronaldo's debut season at Manchester United.

In the months after his £12.24m move from Sporting Lisbon, the youngster was accused of wasting possession in needless positions. One too many step-overs and a lack of composure in key areas were Ronaldo's downfall.

But as we all know, he adapted to the Premier League and history speaks for itself.

Four Ballon d'Or's later, Cristiano is regarded as one of the best in the world, but that's down to his ability to adapt and improve.

RonaldoImage: PA

Throughout his time at Old Trafford, manager Sir Alex Ferguson was hellbent on improving Ronaldo's overall game.

In training, the former United boss would turn a blind eye to some of the 'tackles' United teammates threw his way during training.

Former United coach Tony Coton has revealed that Ferguson allowed the United players to dish out a few kicks here and there in a bid to toughen Ronaldo up during his formative years.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Coton said, "Ferguson showed what he thought of this kid Ronaldo by handing him the club's iconic No7 shirt when he signed him in 2003.

"But just as important was the gaffer's ability to recognise his weaknesses. Sir Alex embarked on a mission to toughen him up. Members of the coaching staff were encouraged to turn a blind eye if they saw Ronaldo being fouled in practise matches and small-sided games."

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Image: PA

One of Ronaldo's biggest flaws during his time at Old Trafford was his needless use of skills, but as mentioned earlier, the 32-year-old has improved and adapted his game.

Now at Real Madrid, you won't see Ronaldo perform as many, if not any, skills during a typical 90 minute match.

In an interview with YouTube freestyler Touzani, the Portugal international explained why he doesn't perform as much trickery as he used to:

"In a game the most important thing is to win, and goals helps to win. You can mix - first goals, and after tricks and assists after. What the people want is goals, so I try to score goals.

"I still do it (skills), not the same as at Manchester, but I still do it. Now I prefer goals, am focused more on goals. Skills comes third."

Ronaldo
Image: PA

A perfect example of how Ronaldo has matured.

He realised that goals and assists were more important than tricks.

Jack Kenmare

Jack Kenmare is a writer at SPORTbible. He's interviewed some huge names in the world of sport, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pele, Carles Puyol and Tim Henman. He dabbles in all things sport, but football is his biggest passion. He was once hit in the head by a wayward strike from Nicky Butt and lived to tell the tale.

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