19.01.2011 » Cristiano Ronaldo: "I get along with all my teammates very well."
Q: You finished the league first half with 23 goals. If you keep scoring at this pace, you would win the pichichi with an amazing new record of 46 goals. That would be a new remark and a great achievement even for yourself. Is the desire to surpass the record of 38 goals set by Hugo Sánchez and Zarra a motivation for you?
A: I don't play to break records. I don't think about this. What I do focus on, is on keeping my level until the end of the season and to help Real Madrid win titles. I'm not obsessed with numbers, but it's clear that I would like to achieve such things and I am motivated to break this record.
Q: You don't look at the pichichi table after each matchday, to see how you and your rivals are doing?
A: I focus on working at the highest level every day, to do my best for my team. And in the end, if I receive an award such as this one, then great. But if I had to choose between the Pichichi award and a champion trophy, it's clear what I would choose.
Q: What do you speak in the locker room, Portuguese or Spanish?
A: I speak three or four languages in the locker room (laughs). Good or bad, I speak Spanish, English, Portuguese, a bit of French and also some words in German. The truth is that the atmosphere in the locker room is phenomenal.
Q: It's said that what José Mourinho did during the halftime against Villarreal was great. Can you tell us about the explanation he gave using bottles of water on the ground to show the players the tactical changes he wanted to implement.
A: (Hesitates a moment and then smiles) You sure have good sources of information! I believe that we should never talk about what happens inside the locker room. I'm not going to talk about this. All I'll say is that Mister Mourinho wanted us to improve and he was able to get us to do so.
Q: Has Mourinho been able to take pressure and some of the media attention from you?
A: Yes, Mou has taken a lot of pressure from me, and I'm obviously happy for that. It's good for me, because he's a coach that generates a lot of front pages and covers, and people like it because he generates controversy and debates. They might say good or bad things, but the important thing is that they keep speaking about him.
Q: Is the criticism that he receives justified? Not a day goes by without some issue.
A: People can say what they like, but they don't know him. Sometimes I laugh because I read things that make absolute no sense. Those are personal opinions, and we live in a democratic country where people can say what they want. I don't really read all of it, but from what I've seen, many of the things that have been said are not true or are not justified. But It's part of football, and his character is strong.
Q: Tell us what Mourinho is like with his players.
A: He defends his players, and he talks a lot with us. He's a very open person and he listens to what you have to say, and he talks and debates with us. I really love working with him. My relationship with him, as well as the relationship between him and almost all of the players in the team, is perfect [which just brings up the question, who is not included in the "almost all"?]. I hope it continues like that for many years.
Q: Can you argue with him?
A: (Hesitates for a moment) Semantic issues, yes. Things about the group or the team, also yes. He may or may not agree with us, but he does listen to everything we tell him.
Q: Casillas managed to get him to delay the concentration stage by two hours before the last Copa del Rey game. This seems to be an issue that the team won't give up on.
A: Yes, it's true. Bit by bit, we're going to see if we can continue to negotiate with Mister Mourinho (laughs).
Q: Do you identify with Mourinho's personality, with his enormous ambition?
A: Yes, very much so. Now that I've worked with him, I can see that we have more things in common than I believed. I love working with persons as ambitious as him, who want to win everytime. It makes me happy and I like it of course.
Q: Would you like to be the captain of Real Madrid?
A: It would be an honor for sure, but it's not something that attracts me. I don't feel like a leader. We all have our own personality and I can lead in other ways. I feel like an important player and I can be a leader in some things, in my own way, the same that Sergio Ramos or Iker do in other and different ways.
Q: Karim Benzema is not taking advantage of Gonzalo Higuaín's absence. How do you see him?
A: My sincere opinion is that Benzema does not deserve all the bad and negative things that are being said about him in the press. If you analyze his last few games, you'll see that he's making a big effort, that he's fighting. But sometimes, things don't go well, but Karim has an enormous value for us.
Q: You could teach him about ambition. No one doubts that he's talented, but he seems to be a bit too apathetic and lacking that quality.
A: Each person has his own character, and I think he's not doing badly. I think he's doing well. He's improving, helping out the team and he has been contributing to the team in the past games. Benzema is making an effort, and we don't need to pressure him anymore.
Q: Do you believe he will triumph in Real Madrid in future?
A: Why not? It will be much better for him if he's allowed to work in peace and not so much is said about him, specially the negative stuff.
Q: Who do you feel more comfortable with, Karim Benzema or Gonzalo Higuaín?
A: With both, that's the truth! I swear (laughs)! But there are always players that you enjoy playing with, more than others. I like both of them of course. They're both phenomenal boys, so I think it's not fair to say who I like playing with more. But Mourinho knows what I think.
Q: Of the young talents out there, who do you see as your successor, who resembles you the most?
A: I don't see anyone like me, with my specific characteristics to be honest. There are a lot of great players out there. On Real Madrid, we have Di María, Özil, Sergio Canales…
Q: What's your opinion on Sergio Canales?
A: He's a great player. But he needs more time to develop, because he's still growing. He'll be a fantastic player for sure.
Q: Could he become a superstar in future?
A: Yes, if he's allowed to play without pressure then I think he can. He has the makings of a star, details which surprise all of us in the training sessions, but he still has a lot left to learn in this team. I like him a lot, that's for sure.
Q: Are you surprised by Angel Di María's performances?
A: Yes, although I was already familiar with him, since I follow the Portuguese league on TV and I saw him playing many times with Benfica. I wasn't completely surprised because I knew when he signed that he would do well in Real Madrid. I think he's the one that runs and fights the most on the team. A great team always needs footballers like that. Right now, he's one of the most in-shape players on the team.
Q: Of the "cantera" that have trained with the first team, which one do you believe that have the brightest future?
A: I've seen some with a lot of quality in the few times they've trained with us in Valdebebas. Morata is a good player. He's young, big, and he's learning a lot and he turn into a great footballer in the future. I also see Juanfran doing big things, and Mateos as well... They all are promising talents
Q: Have you met Jesé already?
A: I've met all of them, but it's difficult for me to remember everyone's names to be honest.
Q: Kaká started the game in the league against Almería. Before his injury, the two of you had connected very well, both on and off the field. How do ou think he is doing now?
A: He will bring a lot of happiness to Madrid's fans, that's for sure. He's working very hard to return to how he was before and I'm convinced he's going to succeed. If he doesn't suffer any more injuries, he's going to be very important for us, because he's still a world superstar.
Q: On the field, it's clear that he still needs to get back into the rhythm of games, like he had before. Have you noticed his progression in the training sessions lately?
A: Yes, Kaká is improving. He's not at 100 percent yet of course, but he needs to continue improving and playing. He'll return to the competitive level he had, but it will be a bit difficult, since he had a serious injury like you all know and was operated on.
Q: Do you think his situation and the one of Ronaldinho are different?
A: Yes, you can't compare the two of them. Kaká is a very religious boy, a great person and he has a great ethic of work. He's one of my best friends on the team, along with Pepe and Marcelo, because we all speak Portuguese. But I'm also good friend with Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and the truth is that I'm surprised and saddened when people say I don't get along with others.
Q: You're referring to Casillas...
A: Yes. I don't understand why it happens. These sorte of things make me sad. When it's said that I'm not playing well or that I'm an idiot, I have to respect that because those are personal opinions. But I get upset when false things like this are said. And I don't know where they come from! It's all rubbish! I get along with everyone in the team, really I do. If you ask my teammates, they will all tell you the same thing.
Q: What did you think when it was alleged that you and Iker didn't speak and didn't get along with each other?
A: I was really shocked. I ask myself how is it possible to create such false stories. I was good, I was scoring, my family was good, and then, all of a sudden, this happened. It was a senseless controversy spread in the press. I talked about it with him.
Q: The day that Sara Carbonero, as a journalist, criticized you, you and Iker ended up joking about it via SMS, right?
A: We spoke in that moment and cleared everything up immediatly. It was a misunderstanding on my part and on the part of Iker and his girlfriend, but it's normal to happen and we talked and made things right. It's not necessary to dramatize it or stir up controversy on these things. We're good, and I get along well with Casillas and with his girlfriend. There's nothing more to say about it.
Q: What do you think about Pepe's contract renewal?
A: If I were president Florentino Perez, I would have resigned him already. I would do it today. I would call him and say, “Hey Pepe, come on over, we're going to resign you!” (laughs). To me, he's a phenomenal player who has to stay with Real Madrid for a long time. I say this not only because he's my friend, but also because he's a world class player. If we already have him, it doesn't make sense to let him go to a rival club, don't you think? It's a matter of paying a few more money and signing some papers.
Q: Well, it appears that he's asked for a lot more money.
A: No, that's what you all think, but he asked for what he deserves. I really think he has to continue with us. I would like this matter to be settled already, and I have the hope that our president will resign him because he's one of the best in the world when playing as a defender. I'm convinced they'll reach an agreement soon.
This was the 2nd part of the interview Cristiano Ronaldo granted to newspaper "Marca". Tomorrow, the 3rd and final part will be published and there is a surprise announced! Ronaldo7.net will bring you a new article reporting everything, so stay close!