Mehdi Benatia admits he thought Cristiano Ronaldo was “not normal” when he saw the intensity of the forward’s workout sessions at Juventus.

Benatia, who now plays for Al-Duhail in Qatar, spoke about the mentality of the 34-year-old and touched on a memory from a trip back to Turin after a match against Atalanta.

“It dates to a trip back from Bergamo,” the former Roma defender told RMC Sport.

“The two of us didn’t play and we were left on the bench because three days later we had another game.

Mehdi Benatia admits he thought Cristiano Ronaldo was “not normal” when he saw the intensity of the forward’s workout sessions at Juventus.

Benatia, who now plays for Al-Duhail in Qatar, spoke about the mentality of the 34-year-old and touched on a memory from a trip back to Turin after a match against Atalanta.

“It dates to a trip back from Bergamo,” the former Roma defender told RMC Sport.

“The two of us didn’t play and we were left on the bench because three days later we had another game.

“In the coach, on the way back, Ronaldo said to me: ‘What are you going to do now as soon as we get back?’ I replied: ‘It’s 11pm, I’m going home, why?’

“And he added: ‘Don’t you want to have a small training session with me? I didn’t sweat in the game, I have to train. Don’t you want to keep me company?’

“And again, I had to explain to him that it wasn’t possible, I just wanted to go home, sit myself down, in front of the TV.”

“When we arrived, everyone was dressed in normal clothes, but he put his shorts on, trainers, music and went to the gym. I thought, ‘this guy is not normal.’

“When you are in touch with him in everyday life, you respect the boy before the player. He sacrifices his whole life for football.

“I was surprised to discover the intensity he puts into every workout, and above all, he repeats it every day.

“In addition to the stuff we did in the group, he had his own personalised programme 25 minutes before leaving the pitch.

“He worked a lot on his explosiveness, with rubber bands, weights and much more.”

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