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Jonathan Woodgate has revealed Brazilian Ronaldo was the first team-mate to speak to him after his nightmare Real Madrid debut 16 years ago.

Having arrived in the Spanish capital in 2004, the England defender was injured for his entire first season at the Bernabeu.

Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Tottenham v Leeds, Woodgate said: “I was 24 when I made my debut at Real Madrid – the main thing people forget about that game is that we won, thankfully. I was over the moon about that, to be honest with you.

“Ronaldo was the first one to come and talk to me after that game. 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.

“I was just glad we won the game.”

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