Patrice Evra: If Cristiano Ronaldo invites you over for lunch, just say no
Former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra has advised against accepting post-training lunch invitations from his ex-teammate Cristiano Ronaldo -- as the food will be too healthy and you will end up having to exercise even more.
Evra and Ronaldo were teammates at Old Trafford between 2005 and 2009, as Alex Ferguson's side won trophies including the 2008 Champions League and 2007, 2008 and 2009 Premier League titles.
Discussing Ronaldo's phenomenal hat-trick in Portugal's 3-3 draw with Spain in Friday's World Cup Group B opener as a pundit during ITV's World Cup coverage, former France international Evra shared an anecdote which he said showed how the now 33-year-old had never switched off from being the best, even when inviting friends around his house for some food in their supposed down-time.
Patrice tells us about lunch at @Cristiano's ? @EniAlu, @Evra and Henrik Larsson talk to @JacquiOatley about Ronaldo, Man Utd, England and mentality to compete at the highest level— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 18, 2018
Acast: https://t.co/bOuAIMbeIQ pic.twitter.com/V7NqGjr0jt
"I will give advice to anybody -- when Cristiano invites you for lunch, just say no," Evra said. "Not because of the food, but it feels like a training session over there.
"He asked me to come after training, I was really tired, but at the table was just salad and plain white chicken, just water, no juice. We started eating and I thought some big meat was coming after that, but nothing. He just finishes and starts playing with the ball. I've just finished eating but we start playing two-touch, then he wants to go to the pool to swim, afterwards some jacuzzi, sauna.
"Then I say why are we here? Do we have a game tomorrow? That is why I recommend to anybody, when Cristiano asks you for lunch to his house, just say no, don't go. He is a machine, never wants to stop training. Being serious, he deserves everything he has as he has worked so hard."
Evra also shared another story from Ronaldo's early career, which showed how the five-time Ballon d'Or winner had always been driven from inside to win at everything he did.
"He was playing table-tennis with Rio Ferdinand and Rio beat him and we were all screaming," he said. "Ronaldo was so upset. So he sent his cousin to be a table tennis table and was training for two weeks at home, and he came back and beat Rio in front of everyone. That's Cristiano Ronaldo, and that's why I am not surprised that he wants to win another Ballon D'Or, win the World Cup. Because he is an angry man."
Ronaldo's refusal to accept defeat was again present against Spain on Friday in Sochi, as was his continuing hunger to be the best.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan