Portuguese celebrated against Juventus in trademark style by ripping off his shirt to reveal his hulking frame
By Toby Gannon
CRISTIANO RONALDO was once accused of being too skinny.
Last night he proved to be a far cry from the weeny teen who arrived in England with Manchester United 15 years ago.
The ripped Real Madrid superstar celebrated his dramatic last-minute penalty winner against Juventus by tearing off his shirt in trademark style to reveal the muscle-bound frame beneath it.
Former United team-mate Rio Ferdinand described Ronaldo, 33, as having the “perfect” physique for a footballer.
Ronaldo was a work in progress when he arrived at Old Trafford from Sporting Lisbon as an 18-year-old.
He revealed: “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 work out. 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 longer a secret that Ronaldo – who models his own range of underwear – spends hours
He said: “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.”
But you do not need to limit yourself to training in the gym.
Ronaldo added: “Fit in exercise wherever you can.
“You can do an abs workout in your bedroom when you wake up in the morning or before you go to bed.
“If you get into a routine then it makes it easier as it will become a habit.”
That explains Ronaldo’s incredible athleticism, but what about his ripped physique?
Ronnie regularly updates his social media accounts with pictures of himself training.
For Ronaldo’s upper-body, push-ups, bench presses and bench dips are all key, while pull-ups work the shoulders and back.
Sit-ups, side planks and medicine ball routines hone his toned tummy by working the core.
Ronaldo even sells his own £350 ‘Abs Fit and Twin Body Fit’ set, which he claims helps train abs, biceps, triceps and quads.
The Real striker last night leapt above Alex Sandro to set up Lucas Vazquez, who in turn won the deciding penalty.
The springiness that sets him above all others is earned from a mixture of leg extensions, leg curls, lunges and squats.
Hard work is one thing but resisting temptation is another, which is why Ronaldo does not touch a drop of alcohol.
He said: “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 in restaurants tends to order steak and salad.
But Lisbon dish bacalhau a braz – a mixture of cod, onions, thinly sliced potatoes and scrambled eggs – is his favourite.
He said: “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. I sometimes eat up to six smaller meals a day to make sure I have enough energy to perform each session at top level.”
Ronaldo spends a lot of free time relaxing at home with girlfriend Georgina, 23, and children Cristiano Jr, seven, ten-month-old twins Eva and Mateo and baby Alana Martina.
He explained: “Training and physical sessions are most important, but living a relaxed lifestyle helps you to be the best you can be, physically and mentally.
“I spend my free time with family and friends, which keeps me relaxed and in a positive mindset.
“Proper sleep is really important for getting the most out of training.
“I go to bed early and get up early, especially before matches. Sleep helps muscles recover which is really important.”