Cristiano Ronaldo has discussed Jose Mourinho, the Ballon d’Or, Real Madrid’s season priority and his future at the club today.
The Portuguese sat down with FIFA’s official website for a lengthy interview and among the various topics discussed, confirmed his intention to see out his Madrid contract.
Ronaldo has been linked with a move away from the Bernabeu this coming summer, in light of rumoured stalled contract talks.
“I want to see out my contract at Real Madrid: I’m very clear about that. After that, well, I don’t know what’ll happen in the future,” he reflected in the interview, before being asked if he was happy at this point in his career.
“Honestly, yes. I’m doing something I like, something that I enjoy. I know how fortunate I am and I feel very fulfilled.”
The 27-year-old also considered his Coach Mourinho’s difficult situation at Madrid, facing whistles from the home crowd for dropping Iker Casillas.
“People do protest and you have to respect that, though I think they should be a bit patient with him. To me it’s very clear that Mourinho always wants what’s best for the club and will fight to the death to defend it.
“All of us who work alongside him know that, but you’ve still got to show respect for the fans’ opinion. In my view he’s the best coach in the world, he’s got loads of experience and has won everything there is to win.”
Ronaldo has also drawn the ire of opposition supporters during his career.
“I don’t know why. I can’t answer that question with total certainty, because it’s something I’ve asked myself too. People who know me and those who’ve played alongside me know what kind of a guy I am.
“Those who don’t know me can say and think whatever they want. I’m able to respect those who criticise me, because I know they’ve got the wrong idea about me.
“You just have to learn to live with it because criticism is part of life for every footballer, for everybody in fact.”
The forward missed out on the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or last week to Lionel Messi.
“How does it feel to have been shortlisted again? Very good. It’s a great honour to be nominated and it makes me very happy.
“It proves that I’ve maintained very high standards over my career and that can only be something to be happy about.
“What’s changed since the first time? I’m virtually the same guy, I’ve got a bit more experience than a few years ago but I’ve still got the same level of ambition. In general, though, I’m the same person and the same player.”
Ronaldo won the award in 2008 when playing for Manchester United.
“They’re the best two clubs in the world and that’s why it’s always difficult to be successful with them. They’ve got positive things and less positive things.
“I think there’s more pressure at Madrid than at United. I’ve been here for three-and-a-half years now and I think that’s the case because everyone involved in totally focused on winning the club’s 10th European Cup. That creates a certain amount of anxiety, which can be felt at all times.
“I think that, yes, the pressure is too great and that sometimes it can affect us. But we have to try and rise above it and not let what people say get to us, particularly the media, as Real Madrid get spoken about every day.
“At the end of the day it comes down to an individual decision, whether you want to read the papers or not. I don’t think what the papers say matters too much, so there’s no need to over-dramatise the issue.”
The team are now 18 points behind Barcelona in the League title race.
“We haven't started the championship very well for sure. We know that La Liga’s an uphill struggle for us now, but nothing’s impossible in football.
“We’re going to work hard, win games and see what happens. And of course, there’s the Champions League and the Copa del Rey too. There’s plenty for us to win this season.
“Is the priority the Champions League? Yes, of course. Every Madridista wants that 10th European Cup – we’re more than aware of that. Last season we fell just short, which was very frustrating.
“Fortunately we’ve got the opportunity to set the record straight this year, though the fact we face Manchester United next makes it more difficult.
“It’s not going to be easy and I reckon the odds are about 50-50, but I’m still very confident. No team’s unbeatable, but when we’re at our best we’re a really good side.
“Manchester United have started the English championship race very well and are a long way ahead of the rest, but still, if we play the way we’re capable of, we can beat them.
“To do that we need to pull together and play as a team, like we’ve done in so many matches before.”