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My life is good, you know. I'm blessed. I worked for that. My motivation is to work more to make my name
Always in the top level...
This is my motivation.
His father was the man responsible for him becoming a football player.
His father was a kit man for CF Andorinha. When Cristiano was very young,
his parents had to leave home to work and Dinis used to bring Ronaldo with him
and as he was responsible for the equipment,
there was always a ball with him and Ronaldo liked to play.
Dinis was important for his love about football.
Since very young we saw the way he played with the ball,
the way he touched it. Day after day we could see his improvements.
I remember when I saw him once playing an 11-a-side match as a kid,
and I saw he would have a brilliant future ahead of him.
He was known as the best youngster in Madeira back then.
He was a thin boy, technically very talented, capable of playing
with both feet. He was only thinking of scoring goals.
All the tricks he used to do were towards the goal.
He couldn’t deal with losing matches. The word ‘defeat’ just couldn’t get
in his head.
For instance, sometimes even when the team won a game,
if he thought he didn’t play well, he used to cry, feel bad,
as the things were not going as he wanted.
In his mind, the team must win, he must score goals, he must play well,
everything must go as he likes.
He couldn’t deal with any failure.
It was when he was playing in my team,
during the school holidays at Easter,
he went to Lisbon with his godfather.
Obviously, when we knew he was going there, we were aware
that he very likely would not come back to Madeira.
Nacional had a debt with Sporting which would roughly be around
25,000 Euros nowadays.
Nacional were facing financial problems and couldn’t pay this debt,
but they had an 11-year-old boy considered a talent, a very good player.
I told him to send me the boy.
Obviously, it didn't take long to realise that he was a natural athlete.
His capacity to making decisions, his speed, his ability to win high balls,
his agility, spontaneousness... all of the things you read about, he’s got.
What caught my attention, after training players of all ages in this club,
and the ones of 15, 16 years old who’d come from Madeira
they took less than 24 hours to ask to go home.
This boy, in his second day here, was treating others
almost like they were his employees.
"Give me the ball, boy". He was calling people "boy",
as I would do with a kid now.
This kind of audacity and fearlessness of a street footballer,
this kind of audacity was there.
When Cristiano was thin, the others used to say:
"You're technically good, you're fast, but you're too thin,"
and he didn't like it.
Somehow he had access to the gym in Sporting at night.
After dinner, he found a path over the roof, and using a ladder,
he had access to the gym, where he used to do exercises.
without any instructor. He created his own series
When someone discovered that, and explained that what he was doing
wasn't good for him because he was a kid
he got punished.
He did not settle and got two buckets filled with water.
And during his shower, he filled those buckets for weightlifting.
And with this, he used to do squats for the legs
and push-ups for the arms.
Then, we moved to a flat, and during the night
he had two weights and a ball
and we liked to walk to Marques do Pombal,
a nice garden. He used to strap the weights in his legs to improve his speed.
He used to say that without the weights, he felt faster.
So much faster, and this is funny... when we were on our way back home
he gave me the ball and the weights to compete against the cars
at the traffic lights. When the lights went green, he ran very fast to beat the cars.
After this, he celebrated: "I'm faster!!"
He always wanted to improve, in every aspect. And he achieved that.
Just like we looked to Cristiano when he was 11 years old, he [Alex Ferguson]
did when he knew of him. There were rumours involving his name already.
Internazionale was close to signing him and other clubs as well. But he didn't move
because they couldn't see how good he was from that distance.
However, being so close. Literally seeing him from the bench,
it was different. A picture is worth a thousand words. Isn't it?
Straight away he made an impact, he became man of the match against Bolton,
he came in and you could see that he was different, he was brave,
he liked dribbling. Things that perhaps you didn't relate to Manchester United or
even to English football at the time.
He liked taking liberties when he first come, taking people on,
making people look silly, doing skills, coming back to beat them again
Gary Neville was probably the butt of them skills and
Phil Neville. And he would do that continuously. Sometimes it’s tough love.
Kick him, make him feel it, make him understand sometimes you’ve got to
release the ball at the right times. The best players they get that quicker than
His whole thing when he first signed was about showmanship, listening to the fans
when I do that little bit of skill – I’ll just do that step over and what not.
There was a turning point around that time where it was just about goals and
goals and assists and then he became the game-changer. Rather than showman
he became the game-changer because he was changing games for us
on a regular basis, in big games. And that’s that maturity and the penny dropping.
I mean a lot of the times I was playing Ronaldo I was at right-back.
A few of my friends were like "He doesn’t defend." But I was like "He doesn't
defend because he doesn't have to because everyone's defending him so I'm having a
good time." That's what I used to say to them!
But I mean he was brilliant, he could win games on his own. Big, strong, powerful,
good in the air. Like I said there would be two or three players
marking him just to keep him quite, which freed up a lot of other space which people don't really
He was such a threat, for our team he definitely made it a brilliant team,
team, because Ronaldo was in there.
He always did extra, he was always part of the group, he more blew you away
in games really, and that's what it's all about – you get judged on games.
But to see someone go out on the training pitch with ankle weights on and he'd constantly be in the gym
first in the morning and work on his physical upper body strength and speed
To go home and swim lengths and lengths at night and eat right, you know, he did
everything possible. His drive, his focus, his team and everything around him
was geared towards becoming the best player in the world and he eventually did that
and you've got to respect that so much.
So I remember, one day when Portugal have been knocked out of the European
Championships 2008, it was going to be his last words that summer and on purpose he actually
walked trough the mixed zone and didn't say anything to anybody.
He saw me at the end and kind of stopped and made
a gesture with his head, so I put the recording machine on and he basically said:
"Everybody knows what my dream is, I want to go to Real Madrid" and, of course, that
became world news. He wanted to put pressure to Manchester United and Real Madrid
as well to finish the deal. Everybody knows Sir Alex Ferguson convinced him to
stay an extra year with the condition that if Real Madrid came with the right
amount of money – 96 million Euros – he could go.
Ninety thousand people in Santiago Bernabéu just to say, "Hello"... It was crazy,
it was 96 million Euros and there's example when Real Madrid signed Bale which
was a bit more, people used to say: No, it was less. We didn't want to upset our
our big star, Bale was expensive but our big star is still Cristiano.
He's bigger than Raul now and that's quite a lot. He was the last Real Madrid hero
and he's far away from him now.
You know, scoring 1.2 goals per game, that's crazy... that's crazy.
We won't see anyone doing that again.
Of course, Raul is loved by the people of Madrid, he's from Madrid
He maybe has the heart of the Spanish people
But when you ask about the best striker in Real Madrid, everybody will say
He's a demanding player with himself. He always wants more and more.
He does everything because that's what he likes to do.
He just loves what he does, and you can tell that.
He's the first one to arrive and the last to leave.
He does everything needed in order to feel well and be physically fit,
as he knows the importance of it in football.
And mentally he's also very strong. He's always prepared for giving his best.
He knows where he wants to go and he always wants more.
I think Cristiano had many dreams and they've all been fulfilled.
One of them was to make sure that he was the one that helped Real Madrid to win the 10th.
It was in the head of the Real Madrid fans and at the club that that was the priority...
So, target met.
I feel that with Cristiano and with these other big names in football, in sport..
they stay in the moment just a little bit and then they need other targets.
Next was the "Undecima", the next European Cup. How about the
European Championships for Portugal? How about the Club World Cup?
So, he needs to innovate to show the world how good he is
We all had this mark of losing that final to Greece.
I remember that back then he cried and was kind of desperate
But the truth is that he has a huge inner strength and managed to keep trying.
And showed how badly he wanted to win and keep winning.
He wanted to win things for his country too. He always said, "I want to win with
Portugal," and I was like: "Me too, it's something I'm missing as well."
Specially after that defeat against Greece, it was missing something
and I was as well, right? Winning something for Portugal.
For a long period, he couldn’t replicate in Portugal the same performances he had in Madrid
And people demanded it. In this previous Euros he was a real captain
I covered the competition there and listened to people saying he wasn’t playing well.
But Ronaldo changed his own style of playing to improve the team
He adapted to Portugal’s 4-4-2, a formation that suits Portugal and helped
us to win, and gave up being as creative as he would in a
a 4-3-3 formation.
He managed to adapt in this style of football, managed to be a leader
on and off the pitch. There were many youngsters in the squad and he did a
brilliant job with them behind the scenes
convincing them, making them believe, telling his own experiences
to make them believe they could win it.
For him almost everything is like theatre and he's got to be the main character in that play.
You could see that in the way he was shaking Fernando Santos and sometimes even pushing him away
from the action and him standing next to him. It has to be about him... he needs that certainly.
At the end of the game,
he got his phone and saw the videos of him in the technical area, and showing everybody:
"Look what I did! Look what I did!" He needed to show that he was also part of
winning that, he also helped in winning that.
It was absolutely crucial to feel that it was as much a Portugal victory as it was his victory too.
Last year was my best year in my career so far.
I admit yes, because we win the Champions League and the Euros.
In terms of individually, I think I did very, very good.
I think the biggest point was to win the Euros, in my opinion.
It’s the first time in the history of Portugal. You don’t know what this means
for the Portuguese people, it’s a huge thing, you know.
Personally, it was the best moment in my career. Of course, it’s good when you win the
the Champions League, the league, the golden ball, the golden boot,
but when you win something for your country, it’s completely different.
The feeling is different and the achievement to win
something with Portugal is not the same if you win something
with Argentina, with Brazil or Germany. It’s different.
I think Ronaldo is obviously the most important player of Portuguese football
because of all he’s done and all he will still do. And also given his
importance around the world. He's the most famous Portuguese around the world
and is known everywhere.
What I learn looking closer into where he comes from and who he is, is that you can
understand why he does what he does. And the story is simple...
When we are kids we grow up surrounded by parents. Parents put you the limits,
they tell you: this is right, this is wrong, this is what you should do,
this is what you shouldn't. It moulds your personality.
Limits is what makes us balanced adults, I feel.
But he didn't have parents around because mom was working for everybody
dad, as everybody knows, was an alcoholic... Having been a bright kid,
a happy kid, went to Mozambique war and came back grey and depressed.
So, without the presence of parents two things happen: 1) if you have dreams,
you can fly cause nobody stops you or nobody directs you in a different way.
But at the same time, nobody puts limits on you.
If you ask other players this question maybe they don’t know what to do
when their career finishes. I know what I’m going to do.
I know I have a lot of projects, thank God!
I’ve been thinking about my future the last five years
to make sure I have good things when I finish my career.
I’d like to do different things, like being in a movie,
or build other businesses. The future will be great I am sure. 100 per cent.