Interview with renowned journalist Judite Sousa.
- my translation - Please only reblog or credit, as it took me much time and effort to make this translation. Enjoy! Part 2 will follow.
Judite Sousa lost her son 2 months ago in a swimmingpool accident. “Ironically”, she said, he had the same age as Cristiano. Devastated, she quit her work. This interview with Cristiano is her way back into the public. Cristiano insisted to wait with this interview until Judite was ready for it.
Cristiano’s first statement shows this sensitivity:
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk with you. As you know, I’m a big admirer of your work. I hope that you come back great, because you are an excellent journalist, you represent our country very well. And as you said, you went through a difficult phase in your life, like it happens to all of us. I wish you all the best for your work, for the restart.”
"Obvously the years go by, and we get more experienced and mature in our work. But to be honest, I don’t think already that I’m 29 years old, I know that I am, but on the pitch, in my mind I think that I’m still 23 or 24. Because I really like very much what I do and I enjoy training, playing, to do my work at the highest level. But obviously I know that things are not the same and often I have to handle things in a different way than when I was 20 years old, because my body is not the same."
Q: Play football until which age?
“To answer you in a more interesting way: I could say that I will play until my body doesn’t permit it any more. But no. My plan is to play until the the ago of 35, 36. But when I am at that age, my mindset might be another.”
Q: Where do you want to end your career?
“I don’t know. Seriously, I could say that I’d like to end my career at Real Madrid, the best club in the world. But I could also say that I’d end my career at Manchester United, for all the history I created with that club. Or I could say at one of the most important clubs in Portugal, Sporting, that gave me the foundation for what I am now. But I don’t know, this is still unknown.”
Q: Are you a kind of Alfredo Di Stéfano for Real Madrid?
“He was good … it would be an honour for me. But I think that I will for sure go down in the Real Madrid history books as one of the best players, not only in terms of goals or performance, but for what I did and achieved, like I am in the history of Manchester or will be in the history of the national team. I have no doubt about that. Therefore I will be on the level of the best players in the history of the club. Obviously Di Stéfano was one of the most important players, not only for Real Madrid, but in the entire football world. And hopefully I can be on an equal level.”
Q: Objectives for the new season?
“Basically, my ambition, what I want, is the same as last year. Like I always say, every season offers different challenges, new challenges, where I want to achieve some individual and collective objectives. The basis will be our achievements of last year, I will give my best, for Real Madrid to win important trophies, I want to be one of the best goalscorers in all competitions, help the Portuguese national team to achieve the best possible results in the EURO 2016 qualification. That’s basically it. I always will give my best for Real Madrid and Portugal.”
Q: Do you aim to win the Ballon D’Or again?
“Obviously yes! It’s not a priority but it’s something that makes us extremely proud and happy. But as I already said, these individual trophies can’t be won without a strong team, without winning collective titles. So I think this year I am on a good level, as we won the Champions League, we won the Copa del Rey, the UEFA Super Cup, I won the Golden Shoe … I think I have a good chance. But this doesn’t depend on me, so … The Ballon D’Or is the maximum you can win on individual level.”
Q: The tears at the Ballon D’Or ceremony - more than just a reaction to this prize?
“Probably yes. Obviously if we have to speak off the pitch, we give a more objective reaction. But often we have to give a recation for the people, a good message so that they can understand. But these kind of emotions not even the best actors could produce. These tears I shed came from the depth of my heart, and I won’t lie, this was a moment of explostion in my inner self. Not only for winning the prize, but for all the hard work of the last years, always fighting for being the best. I don’t want to say that justice was done, but I think that I really deserved it. And in the moment my son came running into my arms this explosion happened, I didn’t expect that, it wasn’t planned, and it filled me with enormous joy and the tears came. But I don’t regret anything. The people who really know me saw that this was simply me, the Cristiano they know. And some people who had a different image, a bad image of me, changed their opinion because they felt my emotion. But I always was like that and we all have good moments in our life, unhappy moments, not so good moments … Like I already said many times, I made some mistakes when I was younger, but who didn’t? I think this is a part of our personal evolution.”
Q: Do you feel treated unfairly by the media?
“Maybe that’s not the correct word, but many times they were not fair with me. But I don’t bear a grudge against anybody because I know that in the end they will realise that they were wrong. As I always say, statistics don’t lie. For being at our highest level we have to be different than the others, we have to be better, more professional, and all that is shown in the statistics.”
Q: Rivalry with Messi?
“Rivalry in the true sense of the word, I think, is always made up by the media. Because I don’t have any rivalry with him, we compete about prizes. We always had a very normal, a professional relationship.”
Q: Messi ‘pampered’ by the media?
(laughs) “Sometimes Messi has a better image than mine, or they like his image better than mine. I think that these are normal situations, we cannot please everyone. I respect the opinions of the others and I know how to live with that, and I don’t make my life dependent on what others think.”
Q: Convinced to be better than Messi?
“There is no better or worse. Each one does his work, each one tries to give his best. We both want to be the best.
I, in my mind, I am the best. If we human beings don’t think like this, if you in your job don’t think like this, or the cameraman doesn’t think like this, we don’t have ambition. I have to think that in my profession I am the best. Maybe I’m not, but in my mind I’m the best.
I see myself as a complete player, I play with both feet, Inscore with the head, with the right foot, the left foot, by free-kicks, by penalties … I think that i am a complete player. But that doesn’t mean that I am better than the others, but I think that in terms of being a complete player I lack nothing.”
Q: Messi rightfully best player of the World Cup?
“My opinion? (laughs) The whole world saw it and analysed for themselves, the people in the football world are intelligent …. so it would be a very interesting question to ask.
… I can’t be honest about this, I can’t be honest about this…. If I told you everything I thought about that, I would be sent to prison!” (cracks up laughing)
“Already overcome. Obviously I am back, I don’t feel pain. But I didn’t have a proper pre-season. In the 12 years of my career I always had a pre-season but this year it was a bit differernt because of the World Cup and the physical problems I had afterwards. Already in the last 2 months of the season I was a bit limited, because of the many matches we already played, obviously this continued at the World Cup. I had to pause during my holidays, I had 1 month of vacation. I needed to pause, to do physiotherapy in order to recover well. But as I didn’t have a proper pre-season …
I didn’t have a big problem with the left leg, simply the fact that I didn’t have the pre-season to prepare well. But now I’m feeling good. But in order to be in top form we have to train well. Without a good pre-season, physical problems happen, same thing with some teammates. But I think with a bit of time, 1 or 2 weeks, I will be in top form.”
Q: But during the World Cup you stated that you are 100% fit?
“I said that I am 100% fit and that Portugal has the capacity to win the World Cup because I think as captain of the national team I have to spread positive energy to the team. Nevertheless we knew that this would be something not impossible, but very difficult to achieve. If I give a pessimistic image, this will transmit to the team a feeling of pessimism.
I thought that I did the right thing by giving morale, positive energy to the Portuguese. The Portuguese are pessimistic people, we know that. But I, as captain, believed that I should spread this message, so that they stop speculating.”
Q: Didn’t you cause too high expections by doing so?
“Yes. After the Ghana match I gave an interview, stating that this was the case. But if you were in my stead, what should I have said, as captain, as leader of the national team? It was a strong message after the Ghana match, but in my understanding I spoke my mind after the Ghana match, I told the reality, what I thought.”
Q: Portugal NT was not on the level of other teams?
“Obviously. Therefore we didn’t pass the group stage. If we didn’t pass the group stage, it was because we were not on the same level as others.
When things don’t go well, it’s because things are not working as they should. If we, Portugal NT, don’t have the capacity to win vs Germany, who are the deserved winners of the World Cup, if we don’t have the capacity to win vs the USA, nor vs Ghana …
We had a bit of bad luck in the first match vs Germany when we had to play with 10 men during most of the match, and therefore conceded more goals than we would have with 11 men. But there is not only one factor, it was the consequence of various factors. I came there in condition to play, with dreams … But Fabio was out of the World Cup injured from the match vs Germany, Pepe because of the red card, Hugo Almeida injured …
I think after the end of a long season these things happen, the fatigue takes its toll. During one year we have 9 months of constant matches, training, competitions, travelling … and for all this the body pays, there are no miracles.”
Q: But the same happens with the other teams.
“Exactly. Maybe it was destiny, maybe we were less prepared … there are various factors. If you observed the World Cup closely, you didn’t see a team with a big difference to the others, the matches were competitive. Germany, as always, were a very strong team and deservingly won the World Cup.”
Q: Critical about Paulo Bento’s decisions?
“The manager has to take his choices. Obviously if you ask me if we agree ‘backstage’, we never do. Never. You can ask me, or any other otf the 23 players, we all have diffferent opinions. All of us.
‘Politically correct’, Paulo Bento’s decisions were accepted, it’s him who has to decide and we have to respect and support his decisions.
No, there was no problem between the team and Paulo Bento. Never. The team was fantastic.
It’s normal that when we don’t win, there is always a bad atmosphere, but that’s part of the game. It’s the same at Real Madrid, when we lose the team is tense, that’s normal. Because we are a team used to win and if we don’t, these situations are normal.”
Q: Did you personally expect more from the national team?
“Obviously yes. I expected to pass the group stage st least. I saw potential for that in our team. But not always our hopes come true, so myself, the teammates, the staff, we all were disappoined, but this is part of football and we have to learn from that for the future.
Only after the Ghana match I accepted that it was over, I had hope until the last moment. Hope dies last. We knew that it was almost impossible, but … In football I have already seen so many things happen. It didn’t happen … so let’s hope for the next time.”