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18th Jun 2018

Patrice Evra recalls how ‘upset’ Cristiano Ronaldo responded to table tennis defeat by Rio Ferdinand

"That's Cristiano Ronaldo"

Simon Lloyd

For all his obvious talents with a ball at his feet, it’s Cristiano Ronaldo’s mentality that sets him apart

From his early days at Manchester United, Ronaldo made no secret of the fact he had aspirations to become the greatest footballer on the planet one day. 15 years and five Ballon d’Ors later, it’s safe to say that, through sheer determination and hard work, he’s reached those heights.

Ronaldo turned 33 earlier this summer yet shows no signs of being ready to call time on his playing days. He still played a key role in Real Madrid’s run to a third European Cup on the spin last season and almost singlehandedly ensured Portugal drew their World Cup opener with Spain on Friday night.

His desire to be the best drives him on, something which has been a constant factor throughout his career. And judging by an anecdote told by his former United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, it’s a quality which extends to beyond football.

Speaking on ITV Sport’s World Cup podcast, Evra revealed how Ronaldo was once unhappy at being beaten by Rio Ferdinand at table tennis.

“They were playing table tennis and Rio beat him and we were all screaming and Ronaldo was so upset,” Evra explained.

So upset, in fact, that his response was to order his cousin to go and buy him a table tennis table, work at it, and become the best.

“He trained for two weeks at home and he came back and he beat Rio in front of everyone,” the former French international added. “That’s Cristiano Ronaldo.”

“That’s why I am not surprised today that he wants to win another Golden Ball, why he wants to win the World Cup because he’s an angry man.”

Ronaldo and his Portugal teammates will return to action when they face Morocco on Wednesday, playing their final group game against Iran the following Monday.