The 35-year-old forward started his career at Sporting Lisbon, before he joined Premier League side Manchester United in 2003, forming a special bond with legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson. After winning the FA Cup in his first season, he helped United gain three successive league titles and the Champions League, before joining Real Madrid, where he quickly became regarded as the best player in the world. But, when he joined the Red Devils aged 18, the Portuguese superstar’s physique was a far cry from the man who left five years later, but Ronaldo had been obsessed with bulking-up from the early days of his career.

Writing for The Players’ Tribune in 2017, he said: “I remember the first time I heard one of the kids say to another kid: ’Did you see what he did? This guy is a beast.’

“I started hearing it all the time, even from the coaches, then somebody would always say: ‘Yeah but it’s a shame he’s so small.’

“It’s true, I was skinny, I had no muscle, so I made a decision at 11 years old, I knew I had a lot of talent, but I decided that I was going to work harder than everybody.

“I started sneaking out of the dormitory at night to go workout, I got bigger and faster.

“I would walk onto the field, and the people who used to whisper, ‘Yeah, but he’s so skinny,’ now they would be looking at me like it was the end of the world.”

It is no secret that Ronaldo spent hours toning his body at Real Madrid, but the five-time Ballon d’Or winner had a recipe to his success.

High-intensity workouts were key and the world’s highest-paid athlete did them five times a week.

He added: “We do a lot of sprinting drills in training and they can be incorporated into your workout whether you are in the gym or outdoors.

“Try and add it to every workout you do, fit in exercise wherever you can.

He added: “Mental strength is just as important as physical strength.”

A balanced diet is important but Ronaldo puts extra emphasis on pumping his body full of protein.

He eats fish regularly and tends to order steak and salad in restaurants.

But a Lisbon dish known as “bacalhau a braz” – a mixture of cod, onions, thinly sliced potatoes and scrambled eggs – is his favourite.

He explained: “I eat a high protein diet, with lots of wholegrain carbs, fruit and vegetables, and avoid sugary food.

“Eat regularly, If you train regularly it’s important to keep energy levels high to fuel your body for better performance.

Last Updated on April 9, 2020 by shalw

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