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Rio Ferdinand reveals the secrets behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s rise to superstardom at Manchester United

Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand says Cristiano Ronaldo’s decision to employ an off-field support team at Manchester United helped him to become one of the greatest players of all time.

Ferdinand and Ronaldo played alongside each other for six years at Old Trafford, where the pair won three Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups and the Champions League.

And the former England international, who was asked by Goal which young players his children look up to, has called on promising prospects to follow the example set by Ronaldo.

“[Kylian] Mbappe is number one for them because he has scored so many goals, big goals and he has played in World Cups,” he said. 

“They see that as success and something that they want to be able to do. Yes, he is a superstar but he is a nice and humble guy.

“With the amount of money in the game, these [young] guys need to take a page out of either LeBron James or Cristiano Ronaldo’s book. Seventeen seasons in the NBA at the top, that’s absolutely ridiculous.

"For Ronaldo, [he is] 34 now and he is still at the top and he has been in the top two players in the world for more than a decade. He was the first person I saw invest in a team. I went around his house and I saw about 10 people in his front room. I said, who are these people? What’s going on?

"He said, ‘that’s my chef, that’s my physio, that’s the doctor and that’s my personal trainer.’ He left Man United as the best player in the world. He was on the right track.

“They have both invested huge money in having the right team around them for their body and mind to perform at the highest level consistently.

"I think if you give young players advice, then I would say if you have the resources then invest in yourself like that.”

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