Saturday, 29 August 2009

Interview with Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo speaks about the parting words he received from Sir Alex Ferguson – and the mood in the camp at Real Madrid.

Q. Are you happy with the move?

A. Yes. I feel like I have come home. Coming from Portugal means I have felt close to Spain all my life. I speak the language; I know the mentality, the culture and the playing style. So this is just as good as going back to Portugal to play, and Real Madrid is one of the greatest clubs in history.

Q. Does it hurt that you left United on a low note, after losing the Champions League final?

A. It does still bother me that we lost that game. You have to respect Barcelona because they won three big titles last season and that says a lot about their strength, but I don't think they were better than us. They were just more efficient when they got their chances.

Q. What did Sir Alex Ferguson say the last time you saw him?

A. He said "congratulations". I think he knew it was the right time for me to move on and I think he acknowledged that I needed to go. He joked with me and told me that with all the offensive players at Real Madrid, I'd end up playing as a central defender. That was just his way of saying "good luck, son". I did not get a chance to say goodbye to the fans but I hope they know that I enjoyed every moment at Old Trafford and would like to thank them for their support.

Q. What do you remember of your unveiling at the Bernabeu? It was nice and low-key wasn't it?

A. It was a crazy day, one I will never forget... There were already a lot of fans outside the hotel so I knew there would be a lot at the stadium, but I didn't expect the place to be full. That amazed me: 80,000 people who all came just to see me? It felt like I was a rock star and I felt humbled by it.

Q. What do you make of Florentino Perez's new project?

A. We all know it will be difficult for us – every time we take a wrong step or lose a match we know that the press will slaughter us and bring up how much we all cost...

Q. Where do you fit into this new team?

A. I don't know for sure but it's important to say that I don't think I will have a more important role than others. I don't think the coach looks at who are the most expensive players, he only thinks about putting the best team together and I hope to be a part of that.

Q. What's your priority this season, La Liga or the Champions League?

A. I want to win them both, win everything. Why choose one? I have won the champions league with Manchester United and I still believe that it is the biggest tournament there is to win in all club competitions.

Q. How do you cope with fame?

A. Luckily it has been a change for the better. I am very privileged. I have a better house, nice cars and everything I need. But the most important is still the support from my family and the people closest to me. The money does not change my ambitions, character or mentality. I still have the passion for football.

Q. Do you ever wonder what you would be doing if you weren't a footballer?

A. A lot of my childhood friends also dreamed about being a footballer, but they also had a lot of other dreams for their future. They wanted to be firefighters, policemen, doctors... The only thing I ever wanted was to become a footballer. That is why I never asked my parents for other gifts when I was a boy, only things for football.

Extracted from an interview in the current issue of Sport magazine

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