Watching Cristiano Ronaldo in full flow is like a drug to some fans.
But the Real Madrid phenomenon has admitted his mother was genuinely prescribed sedatives just to get through his matches as a youngster.
Ronaldo’s struggles during his youth development at Sporting Lisbon have been well documented.
He was bullied relentlessly by team-mates – but duly fulfilled a promise to them to one day become the world’s best.
And he’s opened up on just how tough it was for him during those crucial late teenage years in Portugal during a letter for The Players’ Tribune.
Ronaldo’s father was an absent alcoholic so his Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro assumed almost all of his responsibility, and in Madrid: My Story Ronaldo makes clear how much she was affected when he was younger.
He says: “When I started playing professionally at 17, my mother could barely watch because of the stress.
“She would come to watch me play at the old Estádio José Alvalade, and she got so nervous during big games that she passed out a few times.
“Seriously, she passed out. The doctors started prescribing her sedatives just for my matches.”
“I would say to her, ‘Remember when you didn’t care about football?'”
Ronaldo, of course, would soon go onto join Manchester United and refine his raw talent into one of the best players that has ever graced the game.
It is also exactly 14 years ago to the day since his first Red Devils goal…