Cristiano interview: #1 in the worldFebruary 5, 2009
Cristiano Ronaldo believes he is now part of a select breed of “special” players who are worth more than £100million on the transfer market. Manchester United’s star performer made the bold claim in the aftermath of local rivals City’s botched attempt to sign former World Player of the Year Kaka for a record-breaking fee of £108m.
And in a remarkable interview Ronaldo, the current World and European Player of the Year who remains a target for Real Madrid, said it is only a matter of time before a club breaks the £100m barrier to sign a box-office name like him. “Special players are maybe worth that,” said Ronaldo. “I agree with that. When you are good, when you are a special player, you are more expensive than the other ones. That’s normal. “It’s like cars. Some cars are better than others, that’s why they’re more expensive. It’s the same with players. But this is only my opinion.” Ronaldo, who will aim to help United go three points clear at the top of the Premier League at West Brom tonight, has struggled to repeat his heroics of last season when he plundered 42 goals. Despite that remarkable haul, which earned him virtually every individual award going and helped United to Premier League and Champions League success, Ronaldo gave himself only nine out of 10 for achievement. “I can’t say 10, so nine,” said Ronaldo. “I think I can improve all the time. 10 is the maximum and I haven’t reached the maximum yet, so I’d give myself nine. I hope 10 out of 10 is to come. I believe it will. “My challenge is always to be better and better. You have to try for that. If you don’t try, you won’t win anything. “I’ll try to be as good as I was last season but it’s hard. “Some circumstances have gone against me – like at the start of the season when I was injured – but I don’t want to think about that. My form is coming back and the team are winning. That’s the most important thing. Me scoring is not important, as long as the team wins. If that happens, I win too. “I know if I keep working hard and doing the right things, my form is going to get better and better. “So I don’t worry. But this season I’d give myself eight out of 10.
“Being the World Player of the Year is a great feeling. But it doesn’t change anything in my personality, my character, my ambition. I’m still the same. I want to win games, help United to win trophies. This is my ambition. If you relax it’s not good. Maybe sometimes you relax automatically, but I don’t want that.
“In my head, I know and I am always thinking ‘Cristiano, you have won nothing’ and I want to carry on like that.
“Sometimes I put pressure on myself, but I’m more mature now, more experienced. The games you play give you experience, and winning titles gives you these things.
“I know what I have to do, I know the right things for me. That is why I’m playing at the right club, one of the biggest in the world, and winning things with my colleagues and friends.”
Despite his sublime natural talent, Ronaldo agreed with United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who claims that courage is arguably the 23-year-old’s greatest attribute.
“Skill and courage are very important,” Ronaldo told ITV. “If you don’t have courage, you can’t do the skills. So it’s difficult to choose between the two, because both of them are so important.
“Courage is maybe more important. But I don’t think defenders are malicious when they play me.
“Maybe one or two … but 99 per cent of them are fair. I don’t fear anyone. Sometimes you have a good game or a bad game, but I don’t fear anyone.”
Despite being one of the world’s most gifted footballers, Ronaldo claimed winning with United was far more important than entertaining the fans who come to watch him play.
“I try to make people happy with the way I play,” he said. “But for me, the first thing is to help the team to win.
“When people come to the stadium to watch you, they want to enjoy themselves, and I try to make that happen for them. But the principle is to win. When you win, everything is good. That’s the most important thing. But I like to try to give the fans some happy moments in games.”