CRISTIANO Ronaldo's self-obsession helped him become the player he is today, according to a former Manchester United teammate.
Former Danish wonderkid Mads Timm spent three years training with the Juventus star, who was signed from Sporting Lisbon for £12.24million in 2003, before he was released.
Timm, who now plays for Danish Serie 1 club Kerteminde Boldklub, recalled how the Portuguese legend was bullied for his hairstyle and the way he played – but stuck to his guns and stood up to senior teammates.
And in the end it was his "me, me, me" attitude that turned him into the footballing god he is today.
"He was quite extraordinary as a footballer, and as a person," Timm writes in his book Red Devil.
"Like me, he was bullied when he came to the club. With his hair – which he soon got clipped – and with his almost acrobatic attempt to impress the coaches.
"He could stand and do 10-15 step overs before he tried to dribble past the opponent.
"Pass now, just pass, dammit,' shouted Gary Neville and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer constantly to him when we had reserve team matches together.
"The special thing about Cristiano Ronaldo was that he immediately took the fight against the hierarchy. And he won it.
"He was completely indifferent to the rest of his teammates. He gave no room for others. It was me, me, me. Cristiano Ronaldo. CR7."
While Timm faded into obscurity, Ronaldo has won four Ballon d'Or trophies during a career laden with trophies.
The Dane insisted Ronaldo wasn't the most accomplished footballer he ever played with, but was certainly the most determined to succeed.
He wrote: "He's not the best player I have played with, but he is the most focused person I have ever met. Mentally he reminded me of myself at age 12, and he does really still.
"I do not think he sees himself from the outside, and I do not think he's going to sit and laugh at himself. I think that's why he survived in the professional football world."
Timm often found himself on opposite teams to Ronaldo in training sessions.
While he admits he had lost his head and hated the environment at United, Ronaldo was thriving with an attitude that said he was going to make it.
"He was just the opposite; he was moving forward, clear-headed and with an indomitable faith in himself," Timm said.
"It was also reflected on the pitch. We performed an internal training match where I played on the left wing, while he was right wing for the other team.
"Every time we met on the field, he wiped me, and I have rarely been so out of breath after a test. He pulled all the air out of me."
After settling in at the club, Ronaldo had a proposition for Timm.
"Cristiano Ronaldo was also dying to buy one of my diamond jewellery, but I refused to sell it to him," Timm revealed.
"It had to be enough, he had already taken my dream."
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