The Cristiano Ronaldo effect: Manchester United squad avoided junk food on eve of Newcastle United win

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He’s a superstar on the pitch but Cristiano Ronaldo’s career is as much about what he’s done away from the field.

The Portuguese superstar scored twice on a sensational return to Old Trafford on Saturday, silencing the critics who felt the 36-year-old might be too old for the Premier League.

Ronaldo’s dedication to his craft is well known and he’s able to perform at the highest level at the age of 36 because of his strict fitness regime and diet.

That much was evident on the Friday night before United’s win against Newcastle when, as team-mate Lee Grant put it to TalkSPORT, Ronaldo had the ‘cleanest, most healthy plate you can imagine’ on the eve of the game.

While food is controlled at most clubs, players are given the choice for ‘cheat’ desserts – such as apple crumble or brownies and ice cream.

However, after seeing Ronaldo’s choices, Grant says the entire squad avoided any junk food – showing that the Portuguese forward is already influencing his team-mates.

‘To give you one instance of the impact he is having on the group right,’ said Grant.

‘This was Friday night in the group hotel. So, as you guys will be aware, you finish your dinner and usually on a Friday night you’ve got a few cheat stuff out.

‘You’ve got some apple crumble or you’ve got a bit of brownie and cream or what not.

‘I tell you now, not one player touched the apple crumble and custard, not one player went up for that brownie because everybody was sat down and one of the lads said to me, ‘What has Cristiano got on his plate?’

‘So we were having a little goosey gander at what he has got and obviously it is the cleanest, most healthy plate you can imagine.

‘And it just cracked me up how not one single player dared get up and have that junk food that was laid out.’

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