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Cristiano Ronaldo at AS

February 21, 2011
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I guess AS couldn’t get Karim Benzema, so they “settled” for Cristiano Ronaldo instead.  This very long interview ran in today’s edition, and I thought it was great.  I love Cristiano’s attitude, his outlook and his philosophy.  And of course, how, when he has to shoot down certain rumors, he does so directly and without hesitating.  You know, I never liked him at Manchester United, but once he became “ours,” I became his biggest defender because he impressed me with all that, plus his work ethic.  Plus, he seems much more mature.  The only thing I’m not a fan of is – once again – the excessively Gucci outfit.  Seriously, he must have purchased the entire store (I imagine him going around, pointing at everything that bears the logo on it, and saying, I want this”).

You seemed to be more selfish at the beginning of the season and were criticized for it.  But now you haven’t scored for two consecutive games, and you’ve been praised for your teamwork.

You can’t spend all your time thinking about the criticism of others, you have to think about yourself and concentrate on football.  I can play a game and listen to the radio or read the press the next day.  I’m going to continue working the same way without worrying about if I’m going to be criticized or not.

We are now seeing a more mature Cristiano who plays a bigger role in the collective play of the team.

Madrid cannot depend on only one player, that would be a bad sign.  We have a great team and I adapt to the circumstances of the game and to the players who are out there.  The míster is the one that decides how I’m going to play.  If I do things well, my family, the fans and I will be happy.

Are you in the best moment of your career?

Yes.  I always try to search for equilibrium in my work.  I’m doing well, but so far I haven’t won anything.  I hope to win many titles…

You’ve always said that each day you try to improve on some aspect of your game.  What do you think you need to improve on?

If you think you know everything, you’re never going to triumph.  You have to always keep improving.  And that’s what I try to do.  Everything I did when I was 18 or 19 I continue to do now.  I’m always evolving and learning new things.  Now I’m more mature as a player.  Experience gives you stability and helps you to be more tranquil on the field.  I try to learn from each game.

You’ve scored 24 goals in the Liga.  What would it mean to you to surpass the record of 38 goals set by Hugo Sánchez and Zarra?

I’m not obsessed with that record.  I want titles.  Records don’t tell me anything.  What I want most is to help the team win titles because Madrid can’t go two straight years without winning anything.  I’m not obsessed with anything else.

Why do you believe that Madrid is hated more and more at rival stadiums?

When we get to a city, we’re received very well at the airport and at the hotel, but I don’t know how to explain why people change the way they behave with us and start whistling or insulting us… It’s a difficult question to respond to and I don’t know how to explain this change in people when they enter into the stadium [maybe they’re not the same people?]  They are situations that you have to live with.  We know that there is a lot of envy in football, because there are people that would like to be in our shoes.  The míster gave a good example when we played against Osasuna.  He said that they were anti-football, with the throwing of balls onto the field and the diving.  But it’s normal because all of Osasuna’s players want to play in Madrid; they want to have the success that we have.  I liked this message and it stayed with me.  In the stadiums, a lot of people look at us and don’t understand why we are so privileged.  That’s why they want to get under your skin by saying things, criticizing you.  But you have to be prepared for this.

In the last two months, you’ve had an impeccable attitude in those rival stadiums, and no one can reproach you.

Those fans can do whatever they want, but they’re never going to undermine my morale or psychologically influence the way I play.  They can throw things at me but I’m not going to change the way I play.  Whoever likes it likes it.  And if you don’t like it, stay at home.  I’m not made of iron and I know that you can’t do certain things, but it’s easy to talk about self control if you’re on your sofa watching the game at home.  When you’re in the middle of a game with a lot of pressure and many people insulting or saying things about your mother, it’s difficult not to respond.  I try to make sure that these things don’t keep me from doing my job well.   

Did you ever get to the point where you wanted to leave the Spanish league due to the treatment you received from rival fans and the excessive fouling?

In a moment when you’re weak, many things can pass through your head.  But since I’m psychologically strong, I try to detach myself from all that, although in moments of weakness, the thought that I’m tired of people insulting me and the people I love has come to mind.  But those things are part of football and I’m very happy playing in the Spanish league.  People in Madrid have a very special affection towards me.  And now if I had to choose between Portugal and Spain to live, I would choose Spain, because I love it here [!!!].

At times, it’s sometimes viewed as a good thing to kick Cristiano, while with Messi the treatment appears to be different.  Do you feel this way as well?

I don’t want to enter into the debate about who gets kicked more.  You all, those who analyze the games, you’re very smart and you know what the reality is.  If I say what I think, there will be a huge repercussion and people are going to criticize me, so I prefer not to say anything.  If the cameras and tape recorders were shut off, then I would give my point of view and you can confirm if what I say is true.  I don’t think the players have any bad intentions when they foul me, because the rivals are out there to do their work as best they can.  In the future, I do believe that things will improve…

On those fields where you’re insulted, are you capable of reversing the situation and transforming the criticism into praise?

I dream of this, but I’m not going to twist anyone’s arm, because they probably prefer to whistle than to applaud.  For example, when I play well, some of my friends will tell me that I played regularly.  I know when I play well.  But if this happens with my friends, imagine how it’s like with the rest of the people.  I don’t need anyone to tell me “do this or do that.”  I know when I don’t do things well and that’s why I try to correct my defects.

Last season, all of the pressure was upon your shoulders.  The arrival of Mourinho took the pressure off of you.

His arrival made me happy.  The truth is that the míster came and calmed down a bit the criticism directed towards me.  Mourinho has power, morale, titles and he knows what he’s saying.  Many people don’t like it, but he’s not hypocritical and he says what he thinks.  I’m very happy with his arrival and I hope we will be very successful together.

Mourinho has said that when he passes by Cibeles, he imagines the day in which a title will be celebrated there.

I don’t usually pass by Cibeles.  It’s very rare for me to go by there [I guess Cristiano never goes to museums then].

Have you seen videos of how el madridismo celebrates titles there?

Yes, I’ve seen some celebrations on DVD.  I would like to experience this soon.  I’ve celebrated titles with Manchester United, but having a million people out on the street should be very impressive…

Some weeks ago, in Barcelona it was said that the Liga was over.  But what is it about Madrid that makes them always come back?

You have to keep on fighting because anything can happen in football.  In the game against Sporting, Barça had 70 percent ball possession and they only scored one goal, and look how they suffered against Athletic last night.  That shows that football is complicated.  We can win the Liga.  We know it’s difficult, but we were seven points from them, now it’s five and who knows if next week it will be down to two…

It’s been said that you have a bad relationship with some of your teammates.

This question is very interesting.  When I’m playing well, people want to invent things.  The same thing happens in Portugal.  Here, it’s been said that I don’t get along with Iker and I don’t know where that came from.  Then it was said that Iker gave me advice on how not to respond to fans.  Those are lies that bother me.  You shouldn’t be able to earn money by giving false information to people.  These things bother me and I don’t like them.  People have a right to the truth.

And what is the truth?

Thanks to God, I have a very good relationship with everyone.  It’s true that I’m friendlier with some, but it’s normal.  That also happens in school.  I have a special affection for Marcelo, Pepe, Kaká and Carvalho.  I’m closer with those that speak Portuguese because of the language and because I already knew some of them from the national team.  But my relationship with Sergio Ramos, Iker, Arbeloa, Alonso is phenomenal.  Those boys never did anything bad to me.  It’s the opposite, they’ve helped me a lot.  They’re team players.  The group is phenomenal… Lass, Adebayor, Karim… everything is perfect.

Do you all usually stay after the training session to have a drink together?

Yes, once in a while we have group meals here at Valdebebas and also in restaurants with everyone.  I’m closest to the Portuguese, and sometimes they come to eat at my house.  And other times we meet up with the entire team.  The atmosphere is phenomenal.

Is it true that in 2008 you had the opportunity to sign for Barcelona but you preferred to wait for Madrid?

I always dreamed of playing for Madrid for its history, for what it won, for the players that put on this shirt.  Before I went to Manchester United, I was already dreaming of playing in Madrid.  But then the opportunity to go to Manchester came up and I went.  In 2009, there were other clubs interested in me and in fact I was close to going to another team, but I wanted to play in Real Madrid.

What team was that?

It’s not important now.  I’m happy here.  This is where I belong.

Among those players that have put on this shirt is Ronaldo, who announced his retirement last Monday.  What do you think of him?

That news made me sad, because Ronaldo was “The Phenomenon,” one of the best players of all time and a reference.  He’s impressive as a person and as a player.  It’s sad that he has retired, but he knew better than anyone else what he could continue giving to football.  I want to thank Ronaldo for everything he did so that I and the kids of my generation could enjoy watching him.

Ronaldo scored 104 goals in 177 games with Madrid.  You have 67 goals in 72 games, which is a much superior average.

For me, it’s an honor to be mentioned in the same breath as some of the historical players of this club.  But those who know me know that I don’t care about records.  In the future, people are going to speak more about me if I win titles with Madrid than if I score 100 goals and not win anything.  People talk about titles, not of goals.  People have to know that I’m going to fight to win an important title and I’m not going to leave Madrid until we win something big.

What are your thoughts on how Raúl is doing in Germany?

Raúl is an example and a reference for the entire world.  He’s a great champion.  It makes me happy to see things going well for him at Schalke and for his goal against Valencia.  I wish a lot of luck to the captain [he still calls Raúl the captain?  How sweet!].

Which do you prefer, La Décima or the Ballon d’Or?

La Décima, because if you win the Champions, you have more of a chance of winning the Ballon d’Or.  You tell me:  “Cristiano, here you have the Champions and the Ballon d’Or, which do you prefer?”  I would go for the European Cup.  There are guys on this team that don’t know what it’s like to win a Champions League.  Thanks to God I’ve won one and it’s the best.  You work the entire year with the hope of winning something big.  I hope to win another one and to be able to say that it wasn’t due to luck, but due to hard work and the group that we have.  I’m going to fight until my own limit to win a Champions with Madrid.

And can we break the curse against Lyon?

If God wishes, this year we’re going to win.  This year things will be different.  The míster has a lot of experience and he knows what to do to win.  We’re going to go out on the field knowing that Lyon is a very complicated team.  I’m convinced that this year we’re going to get past the round of 16.

Is the fact that the míster traveled to France several days ago to watch Lyon play live a sign to the players that Lyon will be a tough rival?

We have to view them as a Barcelona or a Milan, because they’re a physical and difficult rival.  And we should “kill” them.  If not, they’re going to “kill” us and we’ll be booted out onto the street like last year.  But this season, we’re going to be more concentrated when we go out on the field.

Would you include Madrid among the favorites to win the Champions League?

Yes, of course.  We have to have the ambition to win.  We want to get to the final in Wembley.  I consider us the favorites, because we have a great team.  We could lose against Lyon, but we should consider ourselves the favorite.  The richest club in the world and the one with the best players should be included among the favorites.

Do you believe Arsenal is capable of eliminating Barcelona?

The game in London was a very nice one and things are still up in the air with the 2-1.  Arsenal played very well, but Barcelona is very strong.  I’d like to see the second leg at the Camp Nou, because it will be a great game and we’ll see what happens.

Is Messi the best player because he has Xavi and Iniesta next to him?

They help him be the best, there’s no doubt about that.  Messi knows that those players are very important for him.  They won the Eurocopa and the World Cup.  We’re not speaking of normal players, we’re talking about magnificent footballers.  Of course Messi is a phenomenon, but in this moment Xavi and Iniesta could be the two most important players for Barcelona and those that make the difference on the field.  I also like Pedro a lot.

What would a team with Cristiano and Messi together be able to achieve?

I don’t know.  Perhaps we’d play very well together in Playstation.  I’m sure we’ll do well together (smiles).

How do you feel in Madrid after one and a half years here?

In Madrid, I’m very happy.  Everything is spectacular.  My family is happy, I’m happy, the weather is great, it’s sunny almost every day… I love Madrid.

Would you stay in Madrid to live?

It could happen.  If I ended my career today, I would stay to live here.  But it’s not only up to me.  I have few people around me, but they’re very important.  The most important thing that we all have is our families and that will be one of the factors.  I’ll have 50 percent of the say and I would want to stay in Madrid.

Has becoming a father changed you a lot?

I haven’t stopped doing my own things because of my son, but it’s true that it changes your life.  Ever since I became a papá, I’ve started thinking differently.  I’m very happy to be a father because it was a dream of mine.

What do you do if you feel the urge to go to the cinema?

I don’t go, but I could go in the future.  When my son is three or four years old, I’ll take him.  I’m not going to stop living my life because I’m concerned about what others say.  I chose to be a professional athlete and I know I have to live with this.  At times it’s very difficult, but you have to accept it.

Is sacrificing your personal life to achieve what you want worth it?

It compensates for it.  We have very difficult moments, but they’re compensated for.  If we look at the crisis and what’s happening to many people, we see that we are privileged.  We have a good life and we earn good money doing something we like.  That’s the life I dreamed of.

Is this the life that you would have liked to enjoy with your father?

Of course.  He’s not here physically, but he’s present.  I feel that he’s present in my successes and in the most difficult moments of my life.  I feel that he’s always with me.

Your mother told AS that she didn’t want to die without seeing her son play for Madrid.

One of the determining factors for me in deciding to come to Madrid was the support of my family, because my mamá [his word] also wanted me to play here.  My mamá loves football and she told me that I had to come to Madrid.  She doesn’t miss a single game.

Do you think that Mourinho will change Madrid, or will Madrid change Mourinho?

Both things.  We have to live with how the world is, we can’t try to adapt the world to us.  Madridistas already know what he’s like.  The president hired him knowing what he’s like and I believe that’s the best decision he made, because he’s the perfect coach for Madrid.  I’m very happy with him and if you ask any of my teammates, they’ll also say good things about him.

Do you get along with Valdano?

Me?  Perfectly!  I like Valdano a lot.  I have a good impression of him; he’s a good person.  He’s never done anything bad to me.  If you don’t do anything bad to me, I’m not going to do anything bad to you.  If you’re evil towards me, then I’m going to be evil towards you.  Valdano has always been nice to me.

And what is your personal relationship with Florentino like?

When he comes into the locker room to talk with us, he does so with a lot of heart.  You can tell that he likes football and he worries over how we’re doing in each moment.  For me, the president is a phenomenon, a very good person.

And to end, what is it about Adebayor that makes him always smile?

He’s like that.  He laughs a lot.  Some people say that on the field, I’m always serious and it always looks like I’m angry.  We have different characters.  Adebayor is a very happy boy, and he speaks a lot with his teammates.  We received him with open arms and he’s very happy here.  I like to play with him, but I also like to play with Higuaín and Benzema [Cristiano, the diplomat!  I see that he’s very used to how the Spanish press likes to twist things around].


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18 Comments leave one →
  1. sogyel permalink
    February 21, 2011 12:13

    This is awesome…in fact i liked the part where he says that he and messi can play together better in playstation…:)
    hats off to Cristiano…this man is becoming more and more diplomat and intelligent..:)

  2. superfan permalink
    February 21, 2011 13:11

    Thank you so much for translating!! 🙂

    If only people (haters) would take some time to appreciate Cristiano beyond what the media portrays of him, I feel like there wouldn’t be any haters. Haha. There’s so much more to him than being an attention-seeking-manwhore or whatnot that the media loves to write about. Ugh.

    Anyway, this was such a great interview! 🙂 I’ve always admired and adored Cristiano and interviews like this make me super happy. 😀 Thanks again!

  3. -warriorprincess_ permalink
    February 21, 2011 13:22

    Cristiano is so adorable. I’m proud of how he became as a player and as a person outside the field. I even hated him once(not for a long time though). But now, you’ll just love how sincere he is with his words. I could tell that he’ll be a good father to his son. I really like his affection for his family. Thumbs up Cristiano! Hala Madrid!!!

    Una, Thank you so much. =)

  4. Pammie permalink
    February 21, 2011 13:29

    wow thank you for the translation!
    They could stop asking about how he feels about the negative reactions to him at way games for a while now though. 😛
    He’s quite the diplomat and could you imagine a Barcelona player saying something similarily nice about our players? 😀

    • Pammie permalink
      February 21, 2011 13:33

      and I love how this whole interview is a love letter to Madrid. Is the tourist board sponsoring him? 😀

  5. Soraya permalink
    February 21, 2011 14:27

    Hi Una!

    This is such a great interview- Cris is truly a world class player!

    An interesting note- you reported that the Cope del rey final between Real madrid and Barcelona will be held on 20 April.
    Madrid are set to face Barcelona, 3 day prior, in the Liga on 17 April.. Two matches against each other in a space of 3 days!? Will both matches still take place??? Sure to be exciting!

    • February 21, 2011 14:40

      Of course both matches will take place. The Liga one might get moved to Saturday though, depends on what the teams and the Liga decide and what other commitments they have.

    • superfan permalink
      February 21, 2011 15:00

      I swear to god that week will be so intense/epic/drama-filled. I super duper hope and pray that it’s Madrid that will come out victorious in those 2 matches. 😀

  6. Cindy permalink
    February 21, 2011 15:34

    You shouldn’t be able to earn money by giving false information to people. These things bother me and I don’t like them. People have a right to the truth.

    I LOVE HIM FOR THIS. The media needs to stop making up lies.

  7. Kat permalink
    February 21, 2011 16:14

    Again, great job Una (I hope you don’t tire of reading this in every one of my comments)!

    I can really feel his passion and drive to win something as I read. It’s like he’s oozing that desire to get a trophy with Madrid this season and I can feel it through my computer screen. And I really do feel for him (and all players who receive that type of abuse for that matter), when opposing fans start insulting his mother and his family. I never really understood that tactic, how someone can stoop that low.

    It amazes me, though, how different his on and off field personas are. He still irritates me on the field sometimes, he has a tendency to be over dramatic at times. I know that probably is just from frustration, but it still doesn’t sit well me when he goes over the top with it. But when I read his interviews, it’s a 180-degree turn. He comes off as charming, level-headed and insightful. It really is incredible, the difference.

    http://dontaskmetosmile.wordpress.com

  8. Jenny permalink
    February 21, 2011 16:21

    He’s so tremendous! So diplomatic! So wonderful!

  9. Priya permalink
    February 21, 2011 17:06

    Great interview. My sister follows Man United and I followed Madrid, so I definitely seen Cristiano through the years. I can tell he has definitely matured greatly in the past couple of years. I’ve always loved him as a player but there were definitely times where I would go, oh why Cristiano must you be so immature! But now, he seems like such a great guy. So happy for him. Definitely one of my favourite players nowadays 🙂

  10. Andrea permalink
    February 21, 2011 18:08

    Thank you so much for the translation, Una. The more Cristiano interviews I read, the more I love him.

  11. February 21, 2011 21:37

    great work as usual. 🙂

  12. Michelle permalink
    February 22, 2011 04:33

    Ha! You know what line made me happiest in this interview? “I also like Pedro a lot.” So unexpected! And yet, not all that surprising at the same time given how Cris is — unlike you, Madridista, I liked him at United 😉 so I have known for a while that while Public!Cris is label-covered, practically orange, and snooty-faced, the real Cris is a sweet guy who loves his family and has lived through some pretty tough times, and has developed a tough coraza and a lot of defensive coping mechanisms as a result. It’s widely reported that Cris said to Pedro during the Clasico “You? And who are you??” — but he says stuff like that to a lot of opposing players on the field (like Pandiani recently), as a way of fortifying himself. Not defending that part, but I think it’s funny, and awesome, that Cris not only clearly knows who Pedro is, but thinks he’s pretty good. I happen to agree. 😉

    • February 22, 2011 07:37

      Though I didn’t include it in the post about Marcelo’s appearance on “Punto Pelota,” he also said that if he could have any player from Barça, it would be Pedro.

  13. arun permalink
    February 24, 2011 08:08

    i learn some things about cristiano in this blog

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