How Cristiano Ronaldo became Manchester United’s lethal finisher after coach Rene Meulensteen convinced him to seize every opportunity and not just try to score ‘beautiful goals’

  • Ronaldo goes from crafty winger to goalscoring machine at Manchester United
  • Sir Alex Ferguson’s former coach Meulensteen describes the process
  • Mail Sport’s new WhatsApp channel: Get breaking news and exclusives here

Former Manchester United manager Rene Meulensteen has revealed how Cristiano Ronaldo went from spendthrift to prolific during his time at Old Trafford.

The Portuguese star emerged as a dazzling teenage winger at Manchester United before gradually transforming into a deadly striker, scoring 42 goals in one season for the club.

Meulensteen, who was on Sir Alex Ferguson’s coaching staff from 2007 to 2013, overlapping Ronaldo’s final two seasons at the club, spoke of how they honed his finishing abilities.

“He started to become more and more effective, he started to dictate games,” current Australian national team assistant coach Meulensteen told Optus Sport.

“When he made that transition, I worked a lot with him to help him finish. Cristiano can score goals, but he’s not a goalscorer. I need to turn him into a goalscorer.

Former Manchester United manager Rene Meulensteen reveals how Cristiano Ronaldo went from spendthrift to prolific during his time at the club
Ronaldo’s goal returns exploded under Sir Alex Ferguson and his staff
Dutch coach Meulensteen worked on the Old Trafford coaching staff from 2007 to 2013

“He always wants to score the most important goals and the most beautiful goals. Because of this, I missed a lot of opportunities to score goals.

“I want to change his mentality and make him understand that it’s all about scoring as many goals as possible. That’s the biggest change he’s made.

This is reflected in Ronaldo’s goal returns at Manchester United. After joining from Sporting Lisbon in 2003-04, he scored 6 goals in his first season, followed by 9 and 12 goals in the next two seasons.

But starting from the 2006-07 season, Ronaldo scored 23 goals, 42 goals and 26 goals respectively in the last three seasons of the club, helping Manchester United regain success in the Premier League and Champions League.

Meulensteen added: “He has 100 percent potential to be the best player in the world.

“He was so determined and focused, he always put in the extra work. “He embraced everything he knew would get him to where he wanted to be. “

Cristiano Ronaldo’s number of goals during his time at Real Madrid reached an extraordinary level. In the 2014-15 season, he scored 61 goals in all competitions.

Now playing for Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, Ronaldo’s club career scoring record is 730 goals in 984 games. He also scored 123 goals in 201 games for Portugal.

Ronaldo celebrates with Ferguson after Manchester United won the Champions League in 2008

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