A World Cup winner that worked with an all-time great in Spain and Italy has been discussing what it is like to play alongside a Portuguese icon

Sami Khedira has revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo would bet ‘€100 or a bottle of wine’ on training drills at Juventus, with the current Manchester United superstar eager to emerge victorious in every challenge he undertakes.

On the field, that determination to succeed has delivered countless trophies and records, with a standing among the all-time greats allowing the Portuguese icon to collect five Ballons d’Or.

The 37-year-old striker is, however, just as competitive off the pitch as he is on it and would often make wagers with team-mates during his time in Italy when it came to shooting practice and small-sided games.

German midfielder Khedira, who played with Ronaldo at Real Madrid and Juventus, told The Gabs & Juls Show of the changes he witnessed in a legendary figure: “I met two Cristianos. The first was at Real Madrid. He was a bit young, a bit more insecure and selfish, too.

“Not selfish in a bad way, just in the way young strikers are. He had to find his personality. And then the second Cristiano, after he moved to Juventus … he was much more of a leader.

“Still driven by ego and selfishness to score, but more about pushing his team-mates, helping them be better. Off the pitch, he was much more relaxed and much more mature, but on the pitch, always focused and just as intense.

“We saw it on the first day, taking shots on goal. He was so competitive, whether it was that or playing 4-on-4; he’d want to bet on it, say €100 or a bottle of wine. He’s a competitor and if he loses, he gets angry. So nobody wants to let him down.”

Ronaldo’s relentless pursuit of perfection does tend to rub off on those around him, with United, Real Madrid and Juventus benefiting from his talismanic presence.

Awestruck team-mates are inspired to try and scale similar heights, with individual gains allowing a collective group to prevail.

Khedira was among those to buy into that mentality when operating alongside Ronaldo, with the 2014 World Cup winner adding on the most demanding of characters: “You have to give Ronaldo the ball in the box, you have to transmit the idea that I will fight for [Cristiano], I will run for him, I will do everything for him. Because at the end, he probably will score the winning goal and get you the three points. That’s the compromise that you have with Cristiano.”

Ronaldo has seen his influence called into question at times this season, following an emotional return to Old Trafford in the summer of 2021, but he has still recorded 15 goals across 30 appearances and has United in the hunt for Champions League glory alongside a top-four finish in the Premier League.

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