Darren Fletcher shares incredible story of how Walter Smith helped transform Cristiano Ronaldo 1 month ago

Darren Fletcher shares incredible story of how Walter Smith helped transform Cristiano Ronaldo

Walter Smith was briefly the United assistant manager whilst Ronaldo was at the club

After the sad news of his passing, many have been sharing stories of Walter Smith and his achievements in football, in particular his incredible success at Rangers.

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It was announced on Tuesday (October 26) that the former Scotland, Rangers and Everton manager sadly died at the age of 73 after battling illness for months.

However Smith also enjoyed a brief spell at Manchester United as Sir Alex Ferguson's assistant towards the end of the 2003/04 season.

Many have been sharing a clip of player Darren Fletcher revealing that Smith should take a huge amount of credit for the amazing career of one man in particular - Cristiano Ronaldo.

Appearing on BeINSPORTS last year, Fletcher explained how Smith introduced a rule in training that transformed a young Ronaldo and helped him flourish into the player that would take the world by storm.

In a discussion about the incredibly successful player, host Richard Keys asks Fletcher: "Many described Ronaldo as a circus act in the early days. What changed? Or who changed him?"

The former United midfielder responded: "You could see this charismatic kid, you could see the ability, you could see the drive to become the best player in the world.

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"But he frustrated the life out of everybody. Everyone thought if he could learn...

"Eventually, Walter Smith came in and decided not to give fouls in training.

"In general, I think the sole purpose was for Ronaldo. So when Ronaldo was doing his skills, not passing the ball and taking the mick, the lads were fouling him.

"Before, the first six months of the season, there'd be fouls given as you'd expect, and Walter said: 'No, no fouls'.

"For two weeks Ronaldo was tearing his hair out and he was going bananas. Open season. Hit him."

Fletcher continued, explaining: "What happens after a few weeks? Ronaldo starts moving the ball because he's sick of getting kicked. Now, he starts playing one or two-touch and running, now he starts getting goals.

"Now it starts clicking in his head: 'I'm starting to score more goals, now I'm starting to make an impact in games'. That was the beginning of Ronaldo's transition."

After the news of his death was announced, Sir Alex Ferguson paid tribute to Smith, describing him as a "great friend."

Smith was also Ferguson's assistant coach with the Scotland national team in 1986 and during his time at United helped them win the 2004 FA Cup.

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