Sir Alex Ferguson says Cristiano Ronaldo used to “stand in front of the mirror loving himself” but admitted he was a”serious professional”.
Former Manchester United boss Ferguson – talking to the Daily Telegraph – clearly saw the Portuguese winger’s ego as a positive trait; it has certainly helped him become one of the best players in the world.
“You have to embrace it,” said Ferguson when asked about managing the egos of modern footballers. “Dealing with an ego doesn’t bother me. You used to see [Cristiano] Ronaldo standing in front of the mirror loving himself. But it was a nice vanity.
“The players used to throw jockstraps, boots and all sorts at him. It never bothered him one bit.
“They need to win, these guys: the ones that are cultivating their egos a little bit. You might see a player in a Ferrari and think – what’s he driving that for? But he has to live with that. He’s not going to be driving into town when he’s bottom of the league, or he’s been dropped. Some people can’t judge that. True players can.”
French maverick Eric Cantona was another who flourished under Ferguson’s leadership.
“I spoke to Cantona every day. He was a very under-rated man and an interesting man. He needed the encouragement that he was at the right club. And he was at the right club.
“On the training ground you never got one ounce of difficulty with Cantona. Sometimes he would come in for training with his eyebrows down and you would say – what’s wrong with him today? Once he got warmed up, into training, he was fine.
“Ronaldo was another one: a great, great kid. He’s just a serious professional.”