Ronaldo showed true character after Jonathan Woodgate’s dire Real Madrid debut
Former England international Jonathan Woodgate has revealed how Ronaldo gave him a huge lift following his disastrous debut for Real Madrid.
Despite joining the Spanish giants in 2004, Woodgate had to wait over a year to pull on the shirt for the first time due to a serious injury he sustained just before signing from Newcastle United.
His eventual Madrid debut, which came in September 2005, would go down in history … for all the wrong reasons.
Woodgate scored a first-half own goal and was later sent off, all after waiting 13 months to finally play for the club.
Back in the dressing room though, Brazilian superstar Ronaldo tried his best to cheer the defender up.
"Ronaldo was the first one to come and talk to me after that game," Woodgate said speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Tottenham v Leeds.
"He asked how I was, and obviously I told him I was disappointed with myself. He saw the positives, though.
"I'd obviously missed a whole season through injury, and he told me not to be disappointed with myself, because my leg was fine.
"That was the most important thing; that I'd got through my debut without getting injured. 'You're on the up, now' he told me.
"That was great to hear, especially from a player of that stature. It really helped me get over things, and I quickly realised everyone makes mistakes throughout their career."
Woodgate's debut was so calamitous that it instantly endeared him to the Real Madrid supporters.
Is Jonathan Woodgate's Real Madrid debut the worst debut of all time? If you know of one that was worse then let us know in the comments section below…
He became something of a cult hero, particularly later on in the season after establishing himself in the first team.
Though injuries continued to hamper the Englishman, and he sealed a loan move back to the Premier League with Middlesbrough in 2006 before making the move permanent in 2007.
But despite making just 14 appearances for Los Blancos, Woodgate insists he has many fond memories of his two-year stint in the Spanish capital.
"I'd say I've probably been asked about my Real Madrid debut every time I've been interviewed, or every time I'm on TV. I always get asked about it. I just can't wait until someone has a worse debut than me, honestly," Woodgate added.
"I've got to say the fans were always really good to me out in Madrid – even when I got sent off on my debut. The whole stadium stood up and clapped me. I never really got any grief off the supporters."
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