Everybody knows that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the world’s most talented athletes. But most underestimate his determination and relentless hard-working nature. Manchester United’s Head of Performance Tony Strudwick saw this first hand when worked with Ronaldo Strudwick reveals to FourFourTwo some of his own experiences with him.
Tony, what made Cristiano such a special athlete?
“His speed, agility and endurance were all at a very high level, which gave him a threatening ability to create. In addition to this, his strength and leaping power make him a feared presence in the air. You see some of his goals for Manchester United, sometimes leaping half a metre into the air to head the ball. What really sets him apart in my opinion, is his physical and mental resilience, to keep pushing himself, against his body’s and his mind’s will.”
Did you have measurements to monitor his physical performance?
“Unfortunately Cristiano left Old Trafford at a time when such measurements were not yet possible. But you know when a player can play every three days, 50 games a season, he is always going to be considered a top physical performer, as Cristiano was.”
What do you remember of his development at Old Trafford?
“He had talent, coachability, personality, he ticked all those boxes and that was one of the things that Sir Alex always looked for. Those first three years after he signed for United, that was the polishing stage, when he was still a teenager. When you examine his last three years, we all saw that he was becoming a top, top player, contributing 135 goals in this time – a truly remarkable statistic. This was the platform, and I don’t think there is any doubt that he would continue to operate at this level.”