What can you learn from training with Cristiano Ronaldo everyday?
“His culture of working, his professionalism, his mentality…”
These are all qualities Manchester United right-back Diogo Dalot used to describe what he has been able to take from training and being around Cristiano Ronaldo, the evergreen goal-scoring machine.
The two knew each other before Ronaldo made his return to Old Trafford last summer due to playing together for Portugal. But Dalot describes what it is like to train with Ronaldo on a more consistent basis.
“I’m sure I speak not just for me but he’s been one of the most positive things about this season – to work with somebody who has his culture of working, his professionalism, his mentality and being close to him now… it’s been very helpful for me and my career,” Dalot tells Sky Sports News.
“I don’t have any more compliments to give about the way he works, he’s a fantastic human being as well.
“The numbers are there, the stats are there, so we’re obviously very happy to have him here.”
Ronaldo has undoubtedly been a shining light on the field for United – netting 17 times in the Premier League season – but what is he like off the pitch?
“He’s a very friendly person. When he feels he has the trust of other people, he gives 100 per cent of himself to you,” Dalot said.
“Everybody gets along with him here, everyone likes to have him around. It’s always a big plus to have a player and a person like this in the changing room.”
‘We’re excited for Erik ten Hag’
Once United’s season ends, all eyes will be swiftly looking forward to the next when Ajax manager Erik ten Hag takes the reins at Old Trafford.
Asked if he has researched the incoming boss at United, Dalot said: “I don’t think you need to see a lot to know that he is a great manager – what he’s done with Ajax is something outstanding.
“He plays very attractive football, I think every fan of United is excited to have a manager like this, and we as the players are as well.
“In our heads, it’s going to be clear who the manager will be next season and that’s good because we go for our break in our heads knowing who to expect.
“Then we will have time in pre-season to work together, get our ideas right and start the new season.”
‘Playing regularly at United is one of my biggest desires’
After arriving as a 19-year-old under Jose Mourinho in 2018, Dalot has had to bide his time before fully breaking into the starting 11 at United.
Dalot spent last season on-loan at AC Milan, making 33 appearances, and off the back of that is now experiencing his best season at United in terms of playing time – making 21 appearances so far.
Having forced his way into the first team – it is clear for Dalot that next season will be vital for club and country alike.
“It’s difficult to say it’s been a good season when the results are not quite there as we expected, but individually it’s been good in terms of playing much more,” Dalot said.
“Playing regularly has been one of my biggest desires since I came here and I’ve fought very hard to get it.
“It’s been good with more minutes than other seasons so I’m very happy with that, but obviously I want to combine that with team performances, with trophies and that’s the aim for the next seasons.
“I like to see it season by season. This season has been special because I’ve played more regularly here, getting into the first team with the national team and we qualified for the World Cup.
“I want to be there so these are the aims, but we still have three games to play, national team games at the end of the season, so there’s no point looking too much ahead when we have some goals to achieve at the end of the season.”
Follow every Man Utd game in the Premier League this season with our live blogs on the Sky Sports website and app, and watch match highlights for free shortly after full-time.
Want the Man Utd latest? Bookmark our Man Utd news page, check out Man Utd’s fixtures and Man Utd’s latest results, watch Man Utd goals and video, keep track of the Premier League table and see which Man Utd games are coming up live on Sky Sports.
Get all this and more – including notifications sent straight to your phone – by downloading the Sky Sports Scores app and setting Man Utd as your favourite team.
Hear the best Premier League reaction and expert analysis with the Essential Football and Gary Neville podcasts, keep up-to-date with our dedicated Transfer Centre, follow the Sky Sports social accounts on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and find out how to get Sky Sports.