Jose Fonte Tells The Story Of His First Ever Meeting With Cristiano Ronaldo
Jose Fonte has recounted seeing Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time and it's the most Cristiano Ronaldo story ever.
The two played together in the same youth team at Sporting CP many moons ago and have remained teammates in the Portugal national team, where they won the Euros in 2016 and the Nations League three years later.
But when the two first crossed paths back in the day, the two didn't have a conversation right away as Ronaldo was too busy showing his competitive nature.
"I was 16 and [Ronaldo] had just turned 15," the former Southampton and West Ham defender said an interview with The Times.
"The first day I saw him in a match I was obviously impressed; he was different from everyone else, anyone could see that, but what impressed me the most was his mentality.
"Since that age, I used to see him working harder than anyone else: wanting to be stronger, wanting to be faster, betting that he would lift more weight. The first memory I have is him in the shower doing press-ups against other team-mates, saying 'I'm going to do more press-ups than you'."
Back when he was a young kid making waves at Sporting CP, first-teamers had to warn him about beasting himself too much.
Spanish forward Tonito told Gazzetta dello Sport: "During training, he'd turn heads among the veterans, and I'd say to him: 'Steady, don't overdo it...'
"I would also give him lifts [to and from training]. But I'd have to wait an hour at the training ground, because he never wanted to leave.
"I'd bang on the window of the gym and say: 'Come on, Cris, it's time to stop - it's getting late!"
An 18-year old Ronaldo would show up at Manchester United as a scrawny kid with a dodgy Spaghetti-like trim but also with an obsession to become the very best - even telling a club employee as soon as he walked through the door.
Mick Clegg, who served as Manchester United's former power development coach, has a quite incredible tale about the time Ronaldo rocked up in the club's gym for the first time.
"He came up to me and said, 'I want to be the best player in the world and I want you to help me. No, I am going to be the best player in the world and I want you to help me.'"