Real Madrid superstar and former Manchester United hero Cristiano Ronaldo showed his steely nerve in his quest for World Cup glory – the last major honour that eludes him – after converting a free-kick under pressure to complete his hat-trick and secure a 3-3 draw against Spain.
The five time Ballon d’Or winner’s personal drive and determination is the stuff of legend.
He is never satisfied with second best, which is why he can do what he did for Portugal in that 3-3 thriller, and a story from former Old Trafford teammate Patrice Evra involving table tennis and another ex-colleague in Rio Ferdinand is perfect testament to that.
According to Evra, who was speaking on ITV’s World Cup podcast, Ronaldo’s anger at losing, in whatever he is doing, is what motivates him to always win.
“They were playing table tennis and Rio beat [Ronaldo], and we were all screaming and he was so upset,” the 37-year-old full-back explained.
“Then he sent his cousin to buy a table tennis set, he trained for two weeks at home and he came back and he beat Rio in front of everyone.
“So that’s Cristiano Ronaldo, that’s why I’m not surprised today that he wants to win another Ballon d’Or, why he wants to win the World Cup. Because he’s an angry man.”
Another of Evra’s stories about Ronaldo was about a lunch invitation to the Portuguese forward’s house – “When Cristiano invites you for lunch at his house, just say no.”
The ex-United defeder said, “I went [and] I was really tired. At the table there was only salad and plain white chicken so I was like ‘okay…’, and water, not any juice.
“We started eating and I was thinking some big meat would be coming after that but there was nothing. He had just finished and he stood up and he started playing with a ball, doing some skills and he said: ‘Let’s do some two touch’.
“We start playing two touch. After that he said let’s go to the pool to swim, I was like ‘okay…’ after going in the jacuzzi, the sauna, I’m done. I said: ‘Cristiano why have we come here, have we come here because we have a game tomorrow, or just for lunch?’.
“This guy, he’s a machine, he doesn’t want to stop training.”