John Arne Riise came to face to face with childhood bully in McDonald’s after winning the Champions League

John Arne Riise has recalled the time he came face to face with a childhood bully in McDonald’s after winning the Champions League.

A couple of months after being a key part of a Liverpool side that came from 3-0 down against AC Milan to win an incredible final on penalties in Istanbul, Riise was back in his hometown of Molde.

He was near a local McDonald’s when he spotted a familiar face and decided to walk into the fast-food restaurant.

This individual had tormented Riise in his youth. Now, Riise was a Champions League winner and when he got the opportunity to get one over him, he took it – heading straight to the counter and placing an order.

“I was bullied when I was younger and that’s why I trained so much from being 12, 13 years old,” the Norwegian told SPORTbible.

“When I won the Champions League in 2005, in the summer holidays I went back to my home country to do some stuff and I remember walking past one of the bullies from when I was young.

“I saw he was wearing a McDonald’s t-shirt and thought, ‘Okay he might be working there’.

“He went to work. There’s nothing wrong with working at McDonald’s but this was my chance. I turned around and went into McDonald’s, pretended I didn’t know him and ordered a Big Mac.

“I made sure I went to his cashier. He said, ‘Next please!’. He looked up and I ordered a Big Mac. The look on his face just gave me everything.

“I didn’t have to say anything, I didn’t want a Big Mac. I paid, said ‘Thank you, have a nice day’ and walked out. I just knew, ‘He knows’. It was a great feeling.”

Image: PA

Riise is well-remembered by football fans for his sledgehammer of a left foot but in school he was anything but popular. Picked on and ostracised, being badly bullied spurred him on to achieve great things.

He added: “I was bullied at school, meaning that even if you were the best in sport you were always picked last. I knew I was the best but I was always picked last.

“When it was birthday parties for the class you would never get invited. I used that as extra motivation because I wanted to show people that I was good at something.

“I started running at 5:30 in the morning before school for an hour every day and then after school I trained with my team. At night before I went to bed I’d run as well.

“On average I did 20 or 21 sessions a week from when I was 13 until I was professional when I was 17 and went to Monaco.

“I was also standing outside of my house shooting for three, four or five hours a day, shooting a ball at a goal I made myself.

“I used that bullying and that feeling to make sure I was successful.”