Ruud van Nistelrooy once left Cristiano Ronaldo in tears after getting involved in an argument shortly after his father had died.
The forwards were once part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s attacking options at Manchester United, with Ronaldo joining from Sporting Lisbon in 2003 as a teenager.
By this point, Van Nistelrooy had established himself as one of the most clinical strikers on the planet and was regularly vying with Thierry Henry for the Premier League Golden Boot.
The duo also played together briefly at Real Madrid, but by this point Ronaldo had surpassed his former mentor and was on his way to global superstardom.
The former Netherlands international, who scored 150 goals in 219 games while at Old Trafford, also reduced Louis Saha to a substitute role during his heyday and the former Everton striker admitted he did not see eye-to-eye with Ronaldo.
In fact, Saha suggested Van Nistelrooy’s desire to score impacted on several younger players in the squad and Ronaldo was hit hardest shortly after his father passed away in 2005.
“Ruud had that kind of ego: he wanted all the passes,” the former France international told FourFourTwo.
“And sometimes, for the development of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, it was difficult for the manager to deal with.
“Did Ruud make Ronaldo cry? Yeah, there were stories because I think they ended up in an argument at the moment when Cristiano’s father had passed away, so it wasn’t the right moment.
“Things like that happen when two players have lots of spirit, but I’m sure Ruud regrets some of his words.”
Before leaving United for Real Madrid in 2009, Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 appearances and helped the Red Devils to three Premier League titles and a Champions League trophy.
On Thursday night, the Juventus striker scored his 55th hat-trick on international duty and Saha praised the five-time Ballon d’Or winner for his commitment to being the best in the world.
“Cristiano was just an animal,” he recalled. “I don’t know if you can say that he was a human! You could see from when he was 18 or 19 that this guy was not normal.
“These players who have all the ability recognise that it’s also about working harder than anyone – not just talent.
“The top seeds in tennis don’t hit the ball better or have better technique; no, they work harder than anyone, and Cristiano did that.”