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Cristiano – the Real… interview

May 9, 2011
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Better late than never, right?  With all the things going on in the world of Real Madrid this past month, this Real… interview with Cristiano Ronaldo was relegated to the bottom of the list of things to do, but once things calmed down, it made its way back up.  For me, this was one of the harder ones to translate, because Cristiano’s Portuguese accent when he speaks Spanish seems to be stronger now than it was when he first came, for some reason – maybe because he spends the majority of his time speaking Portuguese with Marcelo, Pepe and Ricky?  Anyway, my favorite part of the interview bar none is when Cristiano speaks about Cristiano Junior.  I love the smile he had on his face when he did that!  And the parts about missing his family when he moved to Sporting were also very endearing!

A big thanks to reader Sanja for assisting with the translation!

“Holding On” by Jeremih is one of your favorite songs, one you’re always listening to, and even singing.

Singing is not what I do best, but I do sing a bit.

I don’t know if you’re the best at it, but you do manage to draw Marcelo and Pepe in, and sometimes Iker as well…

I think music draws everyone in, because everyone likes music, we listen to music before training sessions and games, and it’s part of the Real Madrid family.

What does music mean to you?  I always see you listening to music in your car, in the locker room, with your headphones…

Music is part of my life, I grew up in a very musical atmosphere.  My sister was a singer, and I remember when I lived in Madeira, we went to see many shows, where my father worked, and so I grew up in this atmosphere.

Does your sister sing well?

Yes, she sings well.  She didn’t continue her career because other things came up, but she did sing for many years.

Is music capable of giving players a “plus” before games?

Yes, I think so.  Many players like to listen to music before games, it’s part of their pre-game ritual.  I personally like to listen to music before games, because it relaxes me and it’s good for me.  Others like to be alone before games, with their headphones on and listening to music.  It depends on each person, because each one has their own way of thinking and acting.  It works very well for me.

What kind of music do you like?

I don’t have a favorite style, I like many styles.  It depends on the situation, for example, I like to listen to music with rhythm before games, nothing slow.  It depends, it depends on the moment, who you’re with, many things.

Not this again!!!

Most people don’t know Cristiano Ronaldo, they don’t know that inside the locker room, he’s always laughing and joking around.  But you’re also very competitive.  People say you contribute to the great atmosphere.  Is it hard for people to get to know the real Cristiano Ronaldo?

I don’t think so.  I think the people who work with me each day, who see me each day know me, know how I am.  But it’s true that people on the outside have a very different opinion, because they don’t know me, but that’s normal and I understand perfectly why it’s like.  But those who do know me know how I am, what I like, what angers me, that I’m a very competitive person – everyone who knows me knows that – but I’m never going to change for the worse, I’m always going to be the same.  But I think that most of the people who know me like me.

Marcelo was here last week.  He’s always smiling, and he said his way of being is to always try and be happy.  What do you like to see in the people around you?

I like people with very positive attitudes, who are happy and smiling, because that also influences you.  I think Marcelo is a very special person in this aspect, because he’s always in a good mood, always smiling and joking around.  He’s a very happy guy and a good influence on me, because I spend a lot of time with him and with Pepe, with Kaká, with the Spanish guys.  In this aspect, I consider myself very fortunate, because it’s very easy to get along with the guys on this team, because they’re all guys who joke around a lot, who laugh a lot, who accept each other’s teasing, and this atmosphere makes it easier to grow and learn.

What is the funniest thing you’ve done in the locker room, something that made you laugh a lot, such as hiding things or…

I don’t like those jokes that involve hiding phones or shoes or socks, and since I don’t like to do them, I also don’t like having them done to me.  I’m not the best person to reply to this question, but a lot of them do funny things, from Iker to Albiol to Canales to Adán – all of them joke around, and that’s why this locker room is phenomenal and very positive.  I love it.

Is this one of the best locker rooms you’ve been in?

Yes.  But I’ll add that I had a great time in Manchester, where there was a very happy atmosphere, but there were four or five older players who were more serious than the rest, the younger ones, which is normal.  The locker room of Madrid is one of the most extroverted atmospheres I’ve been in.

How many true friends do you have?

We have few true friends, not hundreds, but I have a lot of people – and I don’t like to say “true” friends – who have grown up with me and in whom I have all the confidence in the world, and others from the team, I consider my teammates my friends, because we see each other every day and they’re my second family.  When I’m away from home, it’s with them that I spend the most time with.  I have a lot of friends in the club, but only a few “real” friends because when you were nobody and you needed something, they were the ones that helped you out.  And they’re still my friends.  I’m a very easy person to get along with, and people who know me will say that, and I feel fortunate because when I need something, I have a lot of friends here in Madrid to help me out.

What do you value about your friends?

You get to a certain level of maturity so that you can pick the right friends.   When I was younger, I didn’t know how to distinguish a true friend from someone with ulterior motives.  It’s different.  But now I know and I can choose, because I’m more mature, and I have more experience in distinguishing between the people who want good things for me and those who want to do bad things to me.

Speaking of maturity, Casillas also said that he can’t stand false people.  What can’t you stand?

When I’m lied to, which is also part of falsity.  Lying to me is one of the worst things a person can do to me.  I can accept a positive lie, but it’s one of the things that angers me the most.

What were you like as a kid growing up in Madeira?  Tell me about it.

I was very simple, skinny, very ugly… I grew up in a very family-oriented atmosphere, I’m very attached to my family, very attached to my father, my mother, my siblings, my friends.  When you grow up in a very small neighborhood, you tend to get closer to people than if you lived in a big city.  I grew up well, with a good education, my mother instilled good values in me, my dad as well, and in school, I was a good, I wasn’t bad, I wasn’t a phenomenon but I was a very diligent student.  In Madeira, I didn’t miss any school because my mother was always watching over me and my siblings as well.  It was always school, football, school, football… and that’s how I grew up, playing against older boys on a small field in the neighborhood.

You played against older boys?

Always.

Why?  Because you were better than them or…

No, no, it was because the kids my age didn’t really like football.  My brother and my cousins liked football, so I played with them.  I was smaller than them, but I liked it because I was just that type of kid, very desarrollado (Cris says the last word like Marcelo).

Yes, as Marcelo says, very desarrollado.

Yes, and I liked it because when you play with those older than you, you learn a lot more.

Was your family the typical kind where the mother says, “Cris, study” and your father would say, “play football”?

No, my mother was the one who told me more to study, but my father – uyyy –

It’s a ball.  There are some down there.

… was an equipment manager, and so he told me to play football, but I knew how to do both things, and my siblings helped out a lot in that as well.  To be honest, I wasn’t bad at school, but football gave me more pleasure.

And that’s how it all started, in Andorinha, where your father was the equipment manager.  What do you remember about the beginnings of your career, when you put on a kit for the first time and you had to play on weekends…

Playing for your neighborhood club is a dream.  One day, I was at home – I had always played in my neighborhood – and my cousin, who played for Andorinha, he was the captain, said to me, “why don’t you come with me to train and play?”  I said, “but…” because I had no idea about it.  And he brought me along for a training session, and I liked it, but I had no idea what it was like to play games for a club because I had only played with my friends.  And that’s how it all started – my cousin advised me to join a club, and that’s how it all began.

And how did you get to Nacional?

After four or five years with Andorinha, I moved to Nacional, which is one of the best clubs in Madeira, along with Marítimo.  My godfather was a director with Nacional, which influenced my decision a bit, because Marítimo wanted me as well, and I chose Nacional for my godfather because he told me, you have to come here, it’s better for you… I was there for two years, I had a great time there, it’s a phenomenal club, and then I went on to Sporting.

While you were there, did you ever hear the older players say, “this kid is good, he can get far”?  Were you a normal kid or were you already a star as a kid?

Not to show off, but it’s not easy to leave Madeira when you’re 12 years old to go to Lisbon, a completely different city.  It would be like leaving here to go to the Canary Islands, for example.  Being there without your family, without your parents, without your sisters, with a language that’s quite different – it was still Portuguese, but my accent was very bad, and so it was difficult, very, very difficult.  I suffered a lot, I cried every day because I wanted to see my family, and they were very complicated times.  But with the help of Sporting’s directors, my teammates, who knew I had something in me… at the age of 12, they don’t know if you’ll make it as a player, but I had something different than the rest… I felt with the passing of each year that I could explode at any moment and that’s what happened.  At the age of 16, I was already training with the first team, which is something that I had never even considered could happen.  Everything happened very quickly.

When we told the míster that we were going to interview you, he told us to ask about your time in Lisbon, because Cristiano suffered when he went to Lisbon, he cried a lot, he missed his family.  It’s hard for a kid, although the directors helped you, but in the end, you’re still a kid and you’re alone.  I supposed you live in a residence…

Yes, in a residence, I was the youngest one there.  I remember that it was the most complicated moment in my life, on the sporting level.  I remember that I cried almost every day.  I would speak on the phone with my siblings and my mamá, and I would cry.  I would buy a box of 30 telephone cards to use in the telephone booths, call Madeira, and as the values decreased very rapidly, I had to speak very fast with my siblings.  Then I would go back to the residence and cry, it was like that almost every day.  It was very, very difficult.  And so that’s why I consider it the most difficult time of my life, on the sporting level. 

Did you ever think about returning home, telling your mother that you couldn’t take it anymore…
Yes, I did want to go back, but my parents and my siblings always supported me, and the people from Sporting as well, because they knew that I could overcome this.  But it was difficult.  My mother would travel to Lisbon once in a while to give me strength, my siblings as well.  It wasn’t easy, especially the first year.  After that, things got better, because I became friends with some of the other players, directors, the coaches, people from the club.  That was important for me, and from that point on, the adaptation became much easier.

You made Sporting’s first team at the age of 16, and people were already talking about “that kid Cristiano Ronaldo.”  Was that when you realized that you could make a living out of football?

Yes, I felt that a bit, and also because I was playing with the national team… Training with the first team of Sporting meant that I had to change my studying habits, because sometimes I trained in the mornings with the first team, and sometimes at other times in the day with my team, the junior team.  The schedule was very complicated.  I started going to school at night and then there came the point where I told my mother I couldn’t do both things anymore, and I chose football.  I remember that there were older people, aged 30 or 40, in the school, because I wanted to cram two years of study into one.  It was very difficult, and I chose football, and I think that was a good decision.

What was your first salary from playing football, the first time you received money for playing football?

Fifty euros.  I spent it on books and notebooks for school.

What did you spend those 50 euros on?

I purchased supplies for school.  A backpack, books, everything.

In 2003, when you had already made a name for yourself in Sporting, Manchester United came to play a friendly, and some players went up to Ferguson and told him to keep an eye on this kid, who was very good.  And Manchester United came calling.

Yes.  There are some people who think that I made a deal after that game, but that’s not true.  There was already an agreement before that.  I don’t know if I should be saying that, but I’ve already said it many times, so I hope it won’t be a problem.  There are some very interesting things that I won’t tell here, since it’s not worth it.  In 2003, when I was 18, I reached an agreement with Manchester, which was the team that was the most interested in me, for the situation, for the game we played against them.  The coach was interested, and there were some players who told him about me.

Which players?

Neville, Roy Keane, Ferdinand, and another.  They were the best players in Manchester at that time, so that made me very happy.

Did you experience a bit of vertigo, going to a new country, playing in a new league?

Not at all.  Zero.  I didn’t speak the language, I didn’t know anyone, it was a completely different country, but after what I had been through in Lisbon, it became a challenge for me.  It wasn’t difficult.  Okay, I won’t say zero, but a bit.  I was going to a huge club, but I had a lot of confidence in myself and I knew that things were going to go well, and that I was going to triumph in this club.

This self confidence that you have is priceless.  You have so much confidence in yourself.

The truth is that I have a lot of confidence in my abilities, and I’ve always been like that.  It’s not because of who I am now, for what I’ve won; people who’ve known me for a long time know that I’ve always been like that.  I haven’t changed.  Of course, when things go badly, I accept that, but my character, my personality are just like that, I always like new challenges and I believed I could do something for Manchester, and of course leaving Sporting for Manchester was a very important step in my life.   

When you left Portugal, did you believe that you would become what you are now?

No, no.  I thought that I would be one more player, that I could write a page in the club’s history book, but I never thought I would win a Champions League, the Ballon d’Or, awards… it never really crossed my mind, to be honest, especially when I had just arrived in Manchester.

Have you ever been scolded, yelled at?

A lot, and I’m happy that they did that, because I wouldn’t be the player that I am today without it, and not have the character that I have.

Many famous footballers are surrounded by “yes-men.”

It was the opposite for me.  The persons around me would tell me, “Cristiano, be careful,” “Cristiano, you’re doing this wrong,” “Cristiano, do this…”  And I appreciated that, and that’s why we’re still friends.  I don’t like fake people, the kind that when you play badly, tell you that you played really well, phenomenally.  That’s why the people who did this to me (mimes pulling his ears, as the phrase for scolding someone in Spanish is literally ‘pulling one’s ears’) from the time I was small were very important to my growth as a person and as a player.  When I played for Sporting’s junior team, we were in a final, and we had games against teams from the archipelagos – Marítimo, Nacional…  Sporting got matched up against Marítimo, and Marítimo played where I grew up.  So for me, after playing so many years in Sporting and having the chance to return to Madeira to play, and in my neighborhood, with my family and friends there… imagine how that was.  But I wasn’t called up for the game, I wasn’t on the list because I had misbehaved in school.  I remember looking at the list, I looked at it four times, and I didn’t see my name there.  I started crying, and I went to the stadium, really angry and crying… But this was very important for the development of my personality.  That’s why I told you, the people who did these things to me benefited me as a person, and I’m happy about that.

On a professional level, which player did you observe and try to emulate?

The truth is, I’ve never had anyone that I used as an example.  When I was younger, I always looked up to Portugal’s national team players because I hoped to one day play there – Rui Costa, Figo, Fernando Couto; they were the references I had.  And then later on, at Manchester, they had players such as Giggs, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane… I didn’t emulate them, because I don’t like to imitate anyone, but they’re an example of footballers who do things well and triumph in football.  I… (he can’t get the word “fijaba” out) observed them and it always worked out well for me.

What is the best football advice you’ve ever received?

I’ve received a lot of good advice, so I can’t just pick one.  From coaches, ex-players, important figures… I always listen to people who know what they are doing, who know what football is about… I always listen.  If you want to follow the advice, it’s up to you, but I always listen.

And the best advice you’ve given to a budding footballer?  People might not know this, but the younger players on Real Madrid say that if one of them has a problem, you worry about them.  For example, Canales hasn’t had an easy season, but you’ve been very concerned about him.

Just like an older player can give advice to a younger player, the younger player can also have his personality and give advice to the older one.  We can talk, since age doesn’t matter.  If the boys in the cantera have any doubts, I can give them my opinion, to tell them what I think would be best for them.  I’ve given out a lot of advice, and I’ve received a lot as well.  And like this, we grow up with humility and learning from each other.

In 2009, you came to Real Madrid.  Everyone said it’s always been your dream to wear the shirt of Real Madrid.

Yes, my dream and that of my family as well.  Madrid has always been one of the best clubs in the world, if not the best, I watched a lot of their games and I’ve always had the ambition of playing for the greatest club in the world.  My mom also told me that… I think that in life, everyone has chapters, cycles… and my cycle at Manchester had come to an end and that it was time to change.  I had won, well I don’t want to say everything, but a lot, and I wanted to continue winning in another league, with another club.  And there was always something special about this club, and I wanted to play for them.  Both clubs came to an agreement, and I’m very fortunate.  I’m very happy here.

How has your fame changed the life of your family?  I asked Iker if it was difficult for his brother Unai to be the brother of Iker Casillas, and he said all the credit goes to him.  You have three siblings.  How have their lives changed because of you?

Change has both its advantages and disadvantages.  For example, I can tell you that my brother doesn’t like telling anyone that he’s my brother.  It’s not that he doesn’t like it, because he’s proud of that, but that he doesn’t like revealing it in certain situations.  It’s normal.  They’re very proud of me, for how I am, what I’ve achieved.  They’re very happy with the brother that they have, I’m sure of it.

And how have you paid your family back for all they’ve done for you, because you wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them?  You would have left Sporting, gone back to Madeira…

It’s true.  They’ve always been a pillar in my life, because they’ve given me a lot of support, they were always there for me when I needed them.  If we’re not going to help out our families, who are we going to help out?  They’ve helped me a lot.  And I try to pay them back for everything they’ve done for me, I try to be the flip side of that coin.

And your family has grown a bit, with the addition of a little boy.  How are you as a father?

A good father.  I’m still learning, but it’s a sensation that is… those who are fathers know what I’m saying.  I don’t have words to describe it.  Getting home and seeing someone who is yours, of your blood… it’s amazing.  I love it and I’m going through a very special moment in my life, and I really am very happy.  It’s great.

Do you change diapers and all those things?

Sometimes, but I have to confess, it’s not my favorite thing to do.  I like feeding him, bathing him, the simple things.  It’s something beautiful and I love it.

I once saw the screen of Kaká’s computer, and there was a picture of his son.  He said the most impressive thing for him is when his son just looks at him, and he wonders what he’s thinking about.

As I said before, it’s something that’s indescribable.  I’ve been a father for nine months, and every day, Cristiano surprises me with something new, a look, a gesture… they are spectacular things.  The most beautiful things we can do as human beings are having children and enjoying life.

Do you go out for walks with him, like Xabi does with his son in the Retiro?

Not yet, because he’s still too small, but I’ve taken him to the circus and to watch football.  He already has an eye for football.  He has something, it’s there in his look.  I’m sure he’s going to be smart, at least smarter than me.

What more can we ask for than for him to be a better football player than his father?

I hope so, but he can be anything he wants.  I’m not going to tell him what to do, he can do whatever he wants.

So you’ll never tell him what to do with his life, such as telling him to play football, because it worked out so well for you?

No.  Whatever he wants to be, I’ll accept it, whether he wants to be a basketball player or a journalist, whatever he wants to be.  We’ll see.  The truth is I’d like him to play football so I can advise him, but we’ll see.

Iker Casillas said it’s complicated when you have a girlfriend who is also in the public eye, because there are always paparazzi following them.  You’re in this situation too, with a beautiful, top model girlfriend.  Is it complicated not being able to live a normal life?

It’s not just because you have a famous, model girlfriend; it’s always going to be like this.  You could date a normal girl with a normal job, but since you’re famous, there will always be people following you around, trying to find something to talk about.  These are situations that we have to accept and learn to live with.  It’s difficult at times because you want to do normal things, but you can’t because there are people watching you, trying to take photos so that they can sell them, or other bad things, but you have to live with that.  We can’t make a new world, so we have to adapt to this one.  These are things that happen in life, but we’re happy, content, and I hope things continue like that.

Iker said that once when he was walking on Gran Vía (a prominent avenue in Madrid), he couldn’t find a taxi, and since there were so many people around, he took a cardboard box, made some holes for his eyes and put it over his head [more on that story here].  What is the strangest thing you’ve done to prevent people from recognizing you?

I was in New York, out with friends, and I told the taxi driver to drive fast and drop me off somewhere where there was no one around, but close to the hotel, where some paparazzi were waiting.  I put my arm around my friend and pretended I was drunk, because they were waiting for me to pop up, and this way I could put my head down.  I lowered my head and rushed into the hotel.  Impressive.

We’ve had 37 minutes of this interview, and now we’re in the final part.

Thirty-seven minutes?  No, 40.

Let’s talk about the present now.  This upcoming month is going to be very important for Real Madrid.  How are you and your teammates facing it?  You’re one of the heavyweights on the team.

Yes, it’s a very important month for us and for the madridistas – madrileños? – madridistas.  I think we have to be positive, confident… because it’s simply football.  We have to face it like we do the good situations in life, and allow people to enjoy it.  The truth is I’m happy.  I think this is the first time that we’ve played so many games against one team, for example, Barça… we have to enjoy it, it’s great, and people are going to like it, and us too.  It’s good for football.

It’s impressive how the team played in the quarterfinals (of the CL), with a 4-0 win at home and then a very serious game in England, with a team that played well, but couldn’t match Real Madrid.  That also gives you all confidence.

Confidence comes from being in a good moment, from the team being more mature.  We’re united for the last stages, which will be an all or nothing situation.  That’s the reality.  But we’re prepared.

Is Real Madrid, as a team, in its best moment of the season?

We have to be, and we are.

You believe we are?

Yes, as I said, the last stages will go well for us.  I feel that the team is feeling good, that it’s very confident, many players are still very fresh, and we’re going to end the season well.

Let’s go game by game.  The first one is at home, for the Liga.  None of you are giving up the Liga.

(Shakes his head) We have to focus exclusively on Saturday’s game.  We have to win.  And we’re playing at home, and we have pressure them.  If we win, there’s still a chance, we can’t throw the towel to the ground (give up).  We have to think only about this game, what will come later will come.  This Saturday, we have to concentrate on this game, we’re going to play well and we’re going to win.

The public will be very important, I remember you telling me after the game against Tottenham that the Bernabéu really pushed the team.

They were great, I loved the way the Bernabéu was against Tottenham.  I would like to use this opportunity to tell those who will come to the stadium to enjoy themselves, and to support us, even if we’re not playing well.  That will give us more confidence, more tranquility and help us to concentrate.  I don’t believe anyone likes to play under pressure, but if we’re united, confident, the players and the fans together, it will be much easier.  That’s why I ask that the Bernabéu support us and motivate us on Saturday, because everyone – players and fans – will benefit from that.

The next game after the one on Saturday is the final of the Copa del Rey.  It’s said that finals aren’t to be played, but to be won.

Yes, it will be great, a final to win.  But right now we can only focus on Saturday’s game.  After that, the next game, the Copa del Rey final.  Then the semifinals of the Champions League.  But right now, we have to win on Saturday and pressure Barcelona.  If we win that game, it will give us confidence for the Copa del Rey.  It can build up like that.  In the final, may the best team win.

I ask everyone who passes by here if they imagine themselves celebrating a title in Cibeles.  I asked the míster Mourinho about Cibeles, and he said that when he goes by the Paseo de la Castellana, he looks at Cibeles out of the corner of his eye and he imagines his players celebrating a title there, but not himself, because he’s not into that kind of thing.  Do you see yourself celebrating a title at Cibeles this season?

The truth is that I never pass by the Plaza de Cibeles.  I’ve gone by there very few times.  And when I did pass by, I didn’t get a good look, and I get distracted easily too.  But I of course want to win.  Madrid can’t go two years without winning a title.  They can’t.  A club as great as this one can’t.  I’m convinced that we’re going to win this year and (Cris can’t get the word “convencido” out) and after that, the celebration in Cibeles will be another thing, but it will of course be very important.

You are convinced, and you have a lot of confidence in yourself, but how about your teammates?

I see them as very positive, which I like very much, with music and everything, they’re extroverted… It’s a good sign.

So it’s the ideal attitude for this home stretch.

Yes, I would say so.

I want to tell you something that I appreciate about you, which I suppose many others appreciate as well, which is that you are always very straightforward, that you never allow falseness around you.  And that’s something el madridismo values.  We’re very content that such as good person like yourself wears the shirt of Real Madrid.  Thank you for being here and lots of luck.

Here’s the interview in English that Cristiano did with RMTV.  I wonder how often he gets to speak English now?  I assume that he and Irina communicate in English, but I also bet that when they are together, the thing they do the least of is talk…

Cristiano, thanks for joining us as part of the Real… series. Real Madrid are flying this season. They’re in the semifinals of the Champions League and in the final of the Copa del Rey. What’s been the key this season?

I think the key’s been the whole team. We’re in a good moment. We’ve changed a lot since last season: we have a new coach, new players and a new mentality. It’s a winner’s mentality, which is what Real Madrid have been looking for. We’re in good shape and playing very well. The team is mature and we know each other better, which is very important. We just enjoy ourselves. I think the key to the team is that we enjoy every game. I think the last stretch of the season will be interesting.

What’s it like to work under Mourinho?

I think he’s been a very important person this season and he is one of the key people at the club because he’s changed the mentality of many players and he’s a coach who’s won many things wherever he’s been: England, Spain, Portugal. His titles speak for themselves; he’s won everywhere. Mr. Mourinho has brought his mentality, power and character to Madrid. It is very good to work with him. I feel very proud to work with him, not just because he’s Portuguese, but because he’s the best coach. We are all happy to work with him.

You’re known for your competitiveness worldwide in football. It seems to have come from a young age. Your friends from Madeira say you used to cry when you lost as a child. Obviously you don’t cry now when you lose, but you can see how much it matters to you.

It is very important to me. I’ve always been a very competitive player. Not just in games; I’m like that even in training. Also at home with my sisters, my mom, my nephews… I always try to compete hard and try to win. I’m like that. I’ve never changed, because I like what I do. I like my life. I’m a happy person. Competitiveness is part of my life, be it in Madeira, in Madrid, in England. I always want to win. I’m always a competitive person. It’s part of me.

You had to grow up very quickly because you joined Sporting at a young very age. You were away from your mother, whom you are very close to as well. Did that make you grow up very quickly?

Definitely yes. You have to grow quickly when you leave your family at a young age. As you can imagine, it wasn’t easy going to Lisbon when I was 12 years old. It was very difficult, maybe the worst time of my life in terms of football. So this is why I grew up very quickly. The conditions I had there without my parents were very different than those when you’re living at home. I grew up very quickly, but it’s part of the life and I really appreciate it because, at this moment in my life, I feel mature and ready for everything. So, thank God, what I went through before helped me to grow.

Your transfer fee when you signed for Real Madrid made headlines all over the world. What was it like to finally be at the club you dreamed of playing for? Are you relishing the challenge of playing for Real Madrid?

This is what I say many times: to play for Real Madrid has always been my dream. The dream has come true, not just for me, but for my parents too. My mother loves Madrid. My dream was to play for Real after Manchester, so I’m really, really happy. I will try to win what I won at Manchester here at Real. I think Madrid have to win every title. We didn’t win anything last year, but I’m really confident this season we’re going to win something. I think I’m at the right club. I feel very happy here and I want to stay many years.

You are a very important member of the squad. Your goal scoring has been phenomenal, even by your standards.

It’s very important and I’m really, really happy with the goals I’ve scored this season. I’ve worked hard for that, but I have to mention my teammates because they’ve helped me a lot to achieve this. I have to carry on. There are 10, 11, 12 games left in the season, so I want to score a few more important goals and to win some titles. I’m on my way and I want to keep these numbers up.

You’ve mentioned your teammates. Lots of people are interested about how you get on with some players in particular. One’s Kaká, who arrived at the same time as you did, and another is Marcelo, whom you’re always seen laughing and joking with. Could you tell us a little about your relationship with those two?

It’s a brilliant relationship. When people speak your language it’s easier to speak with them. Kaká, Marcelo, Pepe… It’s the same with the Spanish players because “I speak kind of well the Spanish, the English…” I have say, I have to tell the truth, the dressing room is fantastic, the atmosphere there is brilliant. So, my relationship with almost every player is brilliant, but I’m more close with the guys who speak Portuguese. I have to say Marcelo is the funniest player at the club. He’s always joking, playing music, dancing, he does all that, he motivates all the players… he’s brilliant.  I have to say he’s the most funny player in the dressing room.  Adebayor is also very funny. The dressing room is absolutely brilliant.

I’m sure those players know you better than most people. So many people think that they know Cristiano Ronaldo. Who really does know you?

The people who live with me, the people who work with me, the people who’ve been with me every day… These are the people who really know me. People can say whatever they want when they don’t know you and you have to respect their opinion. I don’t care about it because it’s part of the life. I don’t read papers and magazines. I don’t care what people say about me. The most important people to me are my family, my friends, and the people I work with, so for me this is the most important.

Thank you so much for your time.

Thank you.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. maddy permalink
    May 9, 2011 12:33

    i think this is the best real interview so far. i teared a little while reading about his childhood.

    • asma permalink
      May 9, 2011 16:12

      Ohh ya..I can totally relate to and understand very much what he was feeling. I went to boarding school and I remembered the endless crying and homesickness and phone calls. And my little brother also went through the same thing, he wrote to us saying he was crying at night and how he hated the school etc and we told him to be patient etc..and when we had the chance would visit him..it was about two hours flight to another city. At that time I was thinking that my parents were a bit cruel but everything worked out, just like Cris.

      I hope he wins the Pichichi/Golden Shoe this season!

  2. May 9, 2011 12:58

    I enjoyed myself reading these articles! Thank you so much for all the trouble you took to translate them. Cris come across as such wonderful, down to earth person in these interviews.

  3. cisarovna permalink
    May 9, 2011 13:28

    Thanks for translating! There are some pictures of Cris and Iker with their girlfriends at the final of the Madrid Open. There is even a shot of Iker leaning over to speak to Irina, I wonder what he said? Cristiano is the worss keeper in the worrl? Hehehe.

  4. jee permalink
    May 9, 2011 13:52

    nice shoes :p

  5. superfan permalink
    May 9, 2011 14:26

    Flawless human being. I’m always touched every single time he talks about the hardships and sacrifices he’s had when he was younger. You can never fault him for his love and passion and desire to play football. Hate him or love him, you can never deny his greatness. 🙂

    Thank you again for translating the spanish bit of the interview!

  6. Pammie permalink
    May 9, 2011 14:27

    wow thank you two for taking it upon yourselves to translate this interview! I wish some people would read it to see a different side of Cristiano. He really loves his family and isn’t afraid of telling people that he cries. What a man!

  7. asma permalink
    May 9, 2011 15:29

    Thank you very much for these interviews Una, you’re absolutely super!

  8. emily permalink
    May 9, 2011 16:59

    His story of crying a lot is mirrored by a lot of other footballers who left home at an early age to pursue first team talent. It should give us all a lot of perspective into who these guys really are. An arrogant man won’t admit to crying everyday during difficult times. All of the things that the world accuses CR of being pale when you read what he says and what his friends say about him. Too bad not everyone has the opportunity to take the time to learn more about him.

  9. May 9, 2011 17:37

    I love this article! It’s not the same old questions. It really digs deep into the live of Cristiano Ronaldo, his childhood, his relationship with the teammates, family and friends, his way of live and working. Before I supported Real Madrid, I used to dislike him so much. But then I got to know him better through interviews, videos, and matches and I like him now.

  10. mar permalink
    May 9, 2011 20:11

    nice interview…will it be another one?

  11. Maddi permalink
    May 9, 2011 22:37

    Thank you so much for taking all of this time to translate!!! Cris seems so much more down-to-earth in this interview than how the media likes to portray him. I loved when he talked about his baby son!!! (AKA Isabella’s future husband)

  12. May 9, 2011 23:02

    Awww Baby boo Cris! He’s such a badass, yet so grounded. Haha i love how i starts with ”Not to show of”, before he talks about his ability etc.
    It just shows that he’s not what everyone thinks. He’s not selfish, a big stupid ass.. he’s actually very sweet.
    Haters gonna hate. (Haters=Hollywood fc fans)
    Thanks Una! U’re amazing!! 😀

  13. Kai permalink
    May 10, 2011 03:47

    YAY! I’ve had a copy of this interview (translated to English) as my homepage for the last month and ignoring it because I was waiting for your post. It was soooooo worth the wait.

  14. Devyn permalink
    May 12, 2011 16:02

    Did anyone else notice that (I don’t know how to describe it) “sucking noise” Cris does throughout the interview? (listen around the 36:17-36:20 for one example) I say this because Marcelo makes that same noise in his interview! You can tell they are really good friends.

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