‘Cristiano stripped off his shirt and began studying every inch of his body’

Belorussian player Vitaly Kutuzov, who was Cristiano’s roommate at Sporting Clube de Portugal, spoke to La Gazzetta about the Juventus star.

La Gazzetta dello Sport interviewed former player Vitali Kutuzov – not a name which will ring many bells with most football fans but the Belorussian was once Cristiano Ronaldo’s roommate at Sporting Clube de Portugal. The ex-international gave an insight into what sharing a room with the Portuguese player was like and his obsession with improving his physique as well as the interest he had in AC Milan.

Cristiano’s fifth official game with Sporting: “That was a beautiful day. I scored the first goal on the half hour and then Cristiano scored a couple more. I remember him being crazy with joy as he expressed himself celebrating those goals – he was only 17”.

Cristiano’s interest in AC Milan: “When we shared a room, we’d talk in Portuguese. Cristiano knew I’d played at AC Milan and he asked me thousands of questions. Back then, playing for Milan was the ultimate. He would ask me about Maldini, Costacurta, Inzaghi and Shevchenko. And also about the Milanello training complex which at the time, was one of the most modern facilities in the world. He wanted to know how they trained and all about their physical preparation”.

Cristiano’s struggles to adapt: “He’s a very relaxed, calm person, doing his job well is what motivated him. From a human point of view, it mustn’t have been very easy for him because we were a team of mainly older players and that age difference meant that sometimes he had no one of his age to talk to. But as soon as he could, he made sur his family were with him – his family has always been very close to him and an important thing in his life, especially after his father passed away”.

Only interested in football: “He never asked me about beautiful Belorussian women. Never, not once. In those days we only spoke about football, we never chatted about girls”.

Obsessed with physical excellence: “He trained a lot and well but not like a star or more than we did. He looked after his body more than most of us. I’ve never met anyone as self-absorbed in that aspect of our profession. In the dressing room he would take off his shirt then remain topless for quite a long time. He would meticulously study every centimetre of his body – shoulders, abdomen, his legs… He would always be asking us how to become stronger – but not so that he would appear on the front covers of magazines. He only wanted to know how to become a better footballer”.

The young, skillful Cristiano versus the older, goal-scoring Cristiano: “Personally, I preferred the first version, but then what can you say about a player who is a goal machine like he is? You can only applaud him for that”.

Juve and Cristiano knocked out of the Champions League: “I don’t think he will be too affected by Juve’s elimination to Ajax. He’s won the Champions League many times and he knows that anyone can have a bad game. Next season he’ll be trying to win it again with more perseverance”.