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EXCLUSIVE: Ronaldo cried for many days

EXCLUSIVE: Ronaldo cried for many days

Youth coordinator Aurelio Pereira has described how the prodigy from Madeira could have given up on his dream of turning professional if not for his remarkable mental strength.

The man who discovered Cristiano Ronaldo as a boy has described how he could have given up on his dream of becoming a professional footballer after a rough start to life at Sporting.

Aurelio Pereira was the Portuguese club’s youth coordinator when they unearthed the Real Madrid star at the age of 11. At that point, he was playing for Nacional’s youth teams in his hometown of Funchal.

EXCLUSIVE: Ronaldo cried for many days

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Verge24, Pereira revealed that the move away from home and transition to life at one of Portugal’s biggest clubs regularly left the young Ronaldo in tears.

“When Ronaldo came to Lisbon, he was only 12 and it was very difficult for him to adapt,” he said. “He cried many days.

“He left his village, his family, he came to a big and distant city, in a difficult atmosphere, and with some facilities not as good we have now… just imagine how hard it was!

“If he wasn’t so strong and so convinced that his dream was to become a footballer, he would have quit.”

Despite his personal problems, however, Ronaldo’s ability was evident to Pereira from the moment he arrived in the country’s capital.

“Cristiano was very talented at 11,” he added. “He had fantastic control, his mentality was great, and he had a great attitude and determination.

“He arrived at 12 and he passed the trial. When he was 16 years old, he passed the trial for the first team.

EXCLUSIVE: Ronaldo cried for many days

“Nacional signed a player called Franco and had a debt of €25,000 with Sporting, so they offered to pay us with some players. Ronaldo was among them. I had some reliable reports from some friends, so I accepted him to come and train with us.

“I watched him twice and suggested the transfer to the executives, fortunately! All the rest of the kids older than Cristiano felt that he was there, that he was different, extraordinary. [Even] when he was young, he already trained with weights.”

Ronaldo has since placed himself among the greatest players in football history and is the current favourite to claim a fourth Ballon d’Or at the end of the year.

“Ronaldo is the clear favourite to win the Ballon D’Or,” Pereira insisted. “After winning the Champions League and Euro 2016, I can’t see any other player capable of winning the Ballon d’Or. It would be the final touch for his current season.

“I’m very excited about Ronaldo returning to Lisbon [in the Champions League]. I’ll be at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday and I’ll try to meet Cristiano before the game. We’ve kept up a good relationship. We sent several messages after the draw and he is also very excited about this game against Sporting.”

Pereira, who retains working links with Sporting to this day, believes that Ronaldo would be treated as an idol if he was to return to his first club in the latter stages of his career.

“Cristiano is quite beloved here in Lisbon,” he explained. “I remember perfectly the day he played here with Manchester United (Ronaldo scored the winning goal, but did not celebrate and was given a standing ovation). I was at the stadium and it was a fine welcome.

“I know that people will do the same when he comes with Real Madrid. He is highly respected within the club. We are all excited about that game in Lisbon.

“The European Championship was the one title left in Ronaldo’s career. Portugal needed that trophy, too. It came at the right moment. It projected our football to the rest of the world.

“Ronaldo is not only a product of Sporting, but of all of Portuguese football. He is like a hero for all the country.”

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Barcelona, Lionel Messi gives me Sleepless Nights – Antonio Conte

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Barcelona, Lionel Messi gives me Sleepless Nights - Antonio Conte

Barcelona, Lionel Messi gives me Sleepless Nights – Antonio Conte

Chelsea coach Antonio Conte has revealed that the thought of playing against Barcelona and Lionel Messi gives him sleepless nights.

The Italian’s men will host the Catalan giants in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. According to him;

“In these days after the game in the FA Cup, I must be honest, it was a bit difficult to sleep well,” he said.

“When you have to play this type of game, you have to prepare. You have to prepare everything. You have to prepare big things, but the smaller details too.

“They can move a result a lot of the time. We have an idea. We have a plan in our heads. I think that, in this specific moment, it’s very important to pick the players who are at the top of their form and then try and do our best to win the game.”

Barcelona vs Chelsea meetings is best remembered by their semi-final meeting in this competition in 2012 when they surrendered a two-goal lead to crash out at the Nou Camp as Roberto Di Matteo’s side went on to lift the Champions League for the first time.

Lionel Messi will be hoping to score his first goal against Chelsea, having drawn a blank in his previous eight outings in this fixture.

Anthonio Conte however knows it will be difficult to keep Messi quiet. According to him,

“We are talking about the best player in the world,” he said when asked about a plan to cope with the Argentina ace.

“Messi has the capacity to solve the situation and create a chance when you are not seeing the chance to score.

“We are talking about a fantastic player. We have to pay great attention, but not only to Messi.

“We have to know that, during the game, we must be prepared to suffer. But, at the same time, we must have the idea to go and score at any moment.”

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Wigan Athletic Eliminates Manchester City from the FA Cup

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Wigan Athletic Eliminates Manchester City from the FA Cup

Wigan Athletic Eliminates Manchester City from the FA Cup

League 1 side Wigan Athletic stunned a 10-man Manchester City’s hopes of a quadruple with a shock 1-0 win in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday.

Will Grigg scored the winner for the underdogs in the 79th minute when he finished brilliantly from the edge of the box.

Manchester City dominated the match, having 29 shots and 83 per cent of the possession, despite Fabian Delph’s Red Card at the end of the first half for a high tackle on Max Power.

The defeat is City’s third of the season who had created enough good chances to win the game, especially in the first half, despite Wigan looking dangerous on the break.

 

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Romelu Lukaku Leads Manchester United into FA Cup quarter-finals

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Romelu Lukaku to appear in Los Angeles court today over July arrest

Romelu Lukaku Leads Manchester United into FA Cup quarter-finals

Manchester United has booked their place  in the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 2-0 win at Huddersfield on Saturday night.

It was more of a “Monkey working while the baboon eats” and a night of VAR controversy after Juan Mata’s goal was ruled out .

Romelu Lukaku found the back of the net  just three minutes after kick off and the second just after the break (55) – but it was Mata’s disallowed effort for which the game will be remembered for.

Romelu Lukaku Leads Manchester United into FA Cup quarter-finals

With VAR in use, Mata thought he had made it 2-0 just before half-time when breaking in behind and finishing past Jonas Lossl. However, after a big delay and confusion with the VAR pictures, Kevin Friend ruled out the goal as Mata’s knee was marginally offside despite the lines used by VAR not looking straight.

Huddersfield enjoyed plenty of possession and registered 19 shots on goal but United’s defence – marshalled by the excellent Chris Smalling – kept their eighth clean sheet from their last 10 matches.

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