Cristiano Ronaldo once complained about a bad pitch and Gary Neville has revealed it was a tactic on purpose to limit the Madrid man at the time.
Gary Neville has revealed he once did his possible best to limit former teammate Ronaldo’s impact by leaving the grass long on purpose.
The United legend was briefly in charge at Valencia, but couldn’t hold down the role after a series of poor performances led to his dismissal.
However, Neville was in charge of a 2-2 fixture against Real Madrid, with Cristiano Ronaldo among those on the pitch on that occasion.
With Los Blancos boasting Ronaldo and Gareth Bale on the flanks, Neville knew his defenders were up for a tough day and he came up with a tactic to keep the Portuguese from his usual dribbles.
What better way to do that than to leave the grass long and uncut.
Neville has revealed he was happy to see Ronaldo cringe and complain.
He told Sky Sports’ Off Script podcast: “The 2-2 draw with Real Madrid where we almost won it late on was an incredible night.
“Rafa Benitez was Madrid manager and that was his last game before he got sacked.
“What I remember most about that game was our tactic of leaving the grass really long and we didn’t water the pitch so the ball wouldn’t travel as quick in the hope of slowing down Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
“It was like a farmer’s field.
“Cristiano came over to me before the game and said ‘it’s a disgrace, cut the pitch’ – I said ‘absolutely no chance’.
“There was no way he was dribbling that night.”
The plan worked to an extent as Real Madrid could only manage a draw with Valencia and even better, Ronaldo was kept at bay on that occasion. Gary Neville still went on to be sacked though.