Interview with Cristiano (that’s how I like to call him) shortly before the EURO - my translation -
Some details I didn’t understand and left them out, but only a few things.
Q: Cristiano or Ronaldo?
My family calls me Ronaldo. At school they always called me Cristiano.
I don’t like “Cristiano” so much, it sounds a bit childish (laughs).
Some call me Ronnie. Ronaldo is a bit more neutral.
Q: Personal development since 2003 (when his professional career began)
Of course things changed a lot in the last 10 years, from a teenager with pimples and blonde streaks to a man (laughs).
Everything changed for the better, both on personal and football level.
I could realise many dreams in my career.
And in my personal life I also feel very happy for what I achieved and what I have. For the friends I have, for my family, for my girlfriend. Because of all that I am happy.
Q: What did you learn on your journey of life?
I learnt many things. My mental strength comes from what I was going through, and from the education by my parents and siblings.
It was very difficult for me to leave my family at the age of 11 to go to the mainland. That was the worst moment of my life.
I remember how I packed my bags in an emotionally agitated state.
Until today I believe that overcoming all this gave me my greatest strength, which is my mental strength.
How are you beyond being the football star?
A normal man, just like my siblings, with a normal life, a normal work. I’m just like anybody else. Working day by day to make a living.
What does it take to be better than you ?
He has to show it in statistics.
I think statistics in football are very important. It’s not worthwhile just saying that someone is the best if the statistics are not good.
Q: What are you qualities?
I think I am an extremely competitive person, extremely hard-working and professional. I don’t like to do things by halves, it has to be done well.
Those who are working with me or already did, can tell that I am an exemplary professional.
Q: Do you have flaws?
Of course I have.
I don’t like to lose. Sometimes I say imprudent things shortly after a defeat. But within 3-4 minutes it’s OK.
I don”t like to lose and get upset then. But in 3-4 minutes, with a warm hug from a team-mate, it will pass. My team-mates already know me very well (smiles).
Q: Who really knows you?
Only those who have to do with me, who know me well, those who play together with me, those who live with me, they know who Cristiano, Ronaldo, Ronnie really is. They know who I am and how I am.
Q: Do you always wake up with the same mtivation to train?
I am always motivated. But I don’t want to lie. Of course there are days when I wake up a bit tired. But I never looked for an excuse to not going to training and I never will do that.
The moment I don’t feel this passion for training any more I will say to myself: ‘It’s time to pack my boots and end my career’.
That’s how I think and will think until the end of my career because if I don’t feel the ambition and motivation anymore it’s better to stop.
Q: Biggest influences?
My family of course, they were by my side in good and bad times of my career. The person I am today, the education I got, it’s all thanks to my family.
Q: Your late father is always present?
(very emotional) Of course he is. I would never forget about my father. He was a person of extreme importance in my life and still is. I have to live with that. We have to continue our life with our family, children. But those things affect us and we shouldn’t lament and be sad because life is like this and we know we have to continue with our lives.
Q: Which virtues your father passed on you?
Pride. He was a man of pride. He did everything for his friends. He was very proud of his children. He was proud of his son, me, because for him I was always the best.
Q: Influence of the mother?
I think I am more like my mother. But of course I also have things of my father inside me. It’s a mixture of both. Maybe a bit of the personality of my father and in other moments it’s more the education of my mother.
Q: Advices from your parents?
‘Fight for your life’. That’s a saying from my mother. Strive for your objectives.
When I left for Lisbon at the age of 11 my mother entcouraged me and said ‘If you want to do it, go there.’
My father always was in good spirits, he loved football. My father was kit-man at Adorinha club and his dream was that I play at a big club and he will see me on TV.
It makes me a bit sad because if he could enjoy seeing me now, what I have achieved, that would be a highlight in his life.
But I am sure that he watches over me from above.
Q: It is easy to like you?
No, that’s not easy. Either you like me or not. There is nothing in between.
It’s because I am like that. It’s the way I am. If they like it or not.
I don’t have to please everybody.
To be honest, I don’t know. It’s my personality. Some think that I am arrogant. But I don’t care. Also, I don’t try to make others like me.
For me it’s the people I love who count, my friends and family and I don’t care if the others have another opinion on me.
I am who I am and won’t change for others. If they talk about me I won’t change my opinion.
I am calm. All I have, I achieved with my own sweat and therefore I don’t have any problem to be who I am. And I am very proud. I am happy that everything is fine with my family and friends.
Q: Living in public
We can’t always be the same when we are private, talk with the press, appear on TV. But that’s part of my job and my way of being.
We have to be careful because we are always observed.
Everything I am doing is being judged. And most of the stories are made up. Sometimes that’s a bit sad.
I’m already used to it now. When I was younger it was more difficult for me.
But now I am more settled, I have a good career, a wonderful family, a son, I am happy.
Q: Extreme Fans
Sometimes there are extreme situations.
In Manchester I had a fan who slept at my doorway and one day jumped over the fence at 6 a.m. and knocked at my door.
It was a difficult situation. In the end I phoned her mother and payed her a ticket to get home.
There were people who always followed me, until my house …
Q: What do you like about a woman?
The heart. That’s the most important thing (both laugh).
Other attributes also, but it’s the heart that really counts.
Q: What do women like about you? Also the heart?
(laughs) Yes, those who really know me like my heart. But I also have other attributes. But at least for me it’s all about the heart.
Q: Scolari said: ‘Others envy him because he’s tall, handsome and can have all the women.’
Oh, that was a joke. The first two words are OK, but not the last part.
In fact, I felt uncomfortable with this statement because it’s not true. It’s compromising.
Q: Relationship with Irina
We have a perfect understanding. She has her own life just as I do. I won’t change the way I am and she also won’t change her way of being, her roots, her values. Because of that we are good together. We are a happy couple, very well attuned to each other.
Q: Do you know some Russian expressions?
Of course. Some basic things …. thank you, good morning, good evening …
Q: Do you like lingerie?
Yes, I like it a lot (laughs)
Q: What kind of lingerie?
(laughs) I can’t tell you in detail, my mother and my sisters will watch.
But I like it very much.
Q: Rituals before a match
Yes, there are some things. I speak with my team-mates, we’re wishing each other luck, listening to music in the locker room. We already have our ceremony and that’s part of our success.
Q: What’s the most annoying thing during a match?
When the opponents call me names. This happens very often.
It’s not always easy to ignore that.
But when I leave the pitch, after some minutes I don’t care any more.
On the pitch and off pitch things are different. It wouldn’t cost a lot to apologise after the match, saying ‘Hey, I’m sorry’ or a little hug.
I do that very often. It’s not good to keep those bad feelings inside you.
Q: It would be easy for your opponents to reconcile with you?
Very easy. Just stretch out the hand to me and everything is OK. That’s my education, my parents taught us that.
Q: Not loved in Portugal?
As far as I know it’s only a minority that don’t like me. So I don’t want to generalise that the majority doesn’t like me but only admires me for my achievements. This makes me proud in a way.
It’s not easy to be considered as a representative for Portugal. We have to be proud of who we are, of our Portuguese origin. We have to care more for what is ours.
I think it’s true that in Portugal we often give more importance to things that come from outside and our own achievements are not appreciated as much as it should be. But to say ‘the Portuguese people are like this’ is not a good thought. We have to change this kind of thinking, we should be more united and have more confidence in ourselves.
Q: Worst thing that others say about you?
(sad) There are a lot … they say many things … arrogant, stupid, …
Q: But it doesn’t affect you?
No. Why should I let it affect me.
(but his sad face tells another story)
Q: What does it mean to be the captain of the Portuguese NT?
To be the captain of the national team means to be one more player trying to give his best for Portugal. To be a player who faces the fight, fighting from the first to the last minute.
Being captain of the national team is a big pride for me because it’s the peak of what a footballer can achieve, who is striving for success in big clubs and the national team.
Q: Now you’re already one of the experienced players in the NT
Yes, I’m already an oldie (laughs)
Time is flying. Already 10 years that I am in the national team. This is good for me and I am proud that I am useful still.
To be together with such great players in the club and the national team.
I have good friends in the NT, we have great players. We have to appreciate that we have everything. Portugal has the potential to win something important.
Q: EURO 2012?
I can predict that we will do our best, we will run from the first to the last minute. Doing our best for Portugal.
Q: Difficult situation in Portugal
We have to face the problems and shouldn’t lament. We should be optimistic.
The message should be: Positive energy attracts positive energy.
Q: Have you ever felt envy?
When I was younger, yes. I ‘d like to have that car … things like that.
But not any more.
Q: Did your son change you?
(enthusiastic) A lot. Those who have children know what I mean.
It’s something you cant’t explain, it’s in your heart, something of your own. I’m living a dream. It’s wonderful.
He already speaks a lot: ball, car, papá.
We sing together (sings)
When I saw my son for the first time it was with great emotion. Beautiful.
I always thought all babies look the same. But then…
(very emotional) This moment is written in my heart. I can’t explain it. I remember everything. It was a mixture of many emotions at the same moment.
Changing diapers is not my speciality. But bathing him, washing his hair. He has strong hair just as I have.
I don’t care about the speculations. I live my life for myself and not for others.
Q: When was the last time you cried?
I remember it well, I cried a lot. It was after I missed the penalty in the CL semi-final. It was a strong emotion and I couldn’t control my feelings and cried. It was an important match and I missed the penalty. And I cried.
Q: Best player of all times?
This is relative. I didn’t see Pelé play live, nor Maradona, nor other great players. But from what I saw it could be several players.
Q: Cristiano Ronaldo
Yes, among others.
What I want is to do, already did and continue to do is writing a beautiful page in the history book of football, on Portuguese and international level.
I don’t have to hide anything. I don’t want to pass on an image of being humble. I always speak my mind. So some people like me, others don’t.
Q: Balon d’Or?
I hope so, I want to be honest. Competing with the best.
I always have hope, like last year. The highlights for a professional footballer are to win titles with the teams and individual titles, too.
Yes, I have. Winning something important for Portugal.
I’d like to win more titles, to have a bigger family, at least one more child.
I like to have a dream life.
Q: Maybe your son will be a better player than his father?
Difficult task! (laughs)
But I would love it if he also became a footballer. A dream of mine.
But of course he can become whatever he wants. I will give him 100% support.
Q: What do you like to say at the end of our conversation?
I loved to talk with you.
And that all Portuguese are happy. Positive energy!
John, Summer & Georgie Terry