- Cristiano Ronaldo named The Best FIFA Men’s Player for second year in a row
- The Portuguese forward won a league and continental double
- Also helped Portugal qualify for Russia 2018
Cristiano Ronaldo: It’s a wonderful accolade. I really want to thank my team-mates. It’s a landmark moment in my career; a moment involving intense emotions.
This is the fifth time that you have been recognised as the greatest player in the world, when the different awards (FIFA World Player of the Year, FIFA Ballon d’Or and The Best) are taken into account. Does this place you among the best players to ever play the game?
I’m happy to have won this award tonight, but what I originally wanted was to make a success of my footballing career and I think I’ve achieved that. Obviously, winning trophies, and being one of the players with the most individual awards in history, is a great source of pride. It’s an unforgettable moment in my life and it motivates me to continue performing at the highest level.
And to keep lifting silverware with Real Madrid?
Yes, of course – the FIFA Club World Cup is just around the corner, and that’s a trophy we also want to win. We already won the UEFA Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup against Manchester United and Barcelona. You get the opportunity to win everything at Real.
In addition, you have recently begun to accomplish great things with Portugal.
Yes! The victory at EURO 2016 was incredibly important. Obviously, an international trophy was something I was lacking, and thanks to God we managed to win one. This year has also been good. The qualifying campaign was tricky, but it all worked out well in the end. Everyone – the players, coach and backroom staff – knew that we had to approach the qualifiers with the utmost seriousness, and we eventually made it to the World Cup after winning our last match against Switzerland.
Let’s talk about Russia, a country that you visited earlier this year during the FIFA Confederations Cup.
I’ve already played there several times. I won the Champions League there; it’s a country that has brought me good luck. That wasn’t the case last time around with Portugal, because we weren’t able to win the Confederations Cup, but generally speaking the competition was worthwhile, a new experience. We lost to Chile on penalties, which are always a lottery, but looking on the positive side, it’s better that it happened there than at the World Cup.
After your triumph at UEFA EURO 2016, some observers have installed Portugal as favourites for the World Cup. Do you agree with this assessment?
That’s completely understandable. We’re the reigning European champions and that inevitably creates high expectations, but I’d repeat what I said before the European Championships: Portugal are never favourites for major tournaments. There are teams that are better than us on paper, and that have a higher profile or a better reputation. And so we have to approach it humbly, knowing that other countries will be favourites, but that we can maybe spring a surprise.
In conclusion, you have now won five major individual awards. How many would you like to end your career with?
Seven, I hope! That’s my lucky number (laughs). But that’s all in the future, and for now I’m just going to enjoy this incredible moment as much as possible.