In an interview with Spanish radio station, Cadena Cope’s, ‘El Partido de las 12’ programme, Cristiano spoke about his impressive performance against Sweden to send Portugal to the World Cup and being in the best form of his career, but was joined by children battling leukemia and Cristiano, a bone marrow donor, answered questions from the children as well.
“Yes I’m in the best moment both personally and in terms of the club and Portugal, everthing’s going well.
“The Portuguese are very easy going. I don’t think I’d be mobbed if I was there. The people are very happy. Portugal is going through a very difficult time, like Spain, but Portugal a bit worse and in those two hours in those two games brought a lot of joy to the people.”
Cristiano then spoke about being a bone marrow donor and donating to his former Portuguese national teammate, Carlos Martins’ son.
“I’ve [been a bone marrow donor] for several years. It was the time when Carlos was with us on the national team. He told us about the problem with his son and we, the players, showed great unity to help him and his son because we knew it was a delicate situation. [Donating bone marrow] is something a lot of people think is a difficult thing to do but it’s nothing more than drawing blood and doesn’t hurt. I did it many years ago and if I had to do it against I would because it doesn’t hurt, I have no problems and it can help a lot of people, a lot of kids and many elderly people too. There’s no age limit to this problem, so I think it’s a good time to tell people they can do it, it’s something that can help a lot of people and for me it didn’t hurt at all. If I had to do the same now I would because this is a very serious disease for many children and we need to help them and I’m always available.
“[Being scared] is a normal reaction and I appeal for the people to do it, especially here in Spain where there are millions of people and you’re more likely to save lives. It doesn’t cost anything, it’s a simple process and then you feel happy because you know you are helping another person.
“After the situation with Carlos Martins, I asked all of my [Real Madrid] teammate to do it and the information we have is that they all donated.
“It’s a very complicated situation. I saw the son of Carlos Martin and after hearing your stories, that’s something I’d never wish for myself or my family. A disease is always very delicate. I understand your positions, for me you are the heroes because to fight a disease you need a lot of both mental and psychological strength. I appreciate the sick people who keep on living. For me it would be very bad, and hopefully neither my family nor I have a problem with that. May God be generous, just as he has been with you.”
Cristiano went on to talk about his goal celebration urging fans to calm down and if he finally feels loved by the Real Madrid fans.
“[My calm down celebration] was not planned, I don’t plan things. It all started in the match against Barcelona, people were celebrating and I scored and it was to tell the people to be calm because the game wasn’t over yet and I was still there and I could do something more.
“I feel a lot of love from the Real Madrid fans. This is my fifth season at Real Madrid. At first I didn’t know how to interact with people at the Bernabeu. The Bernabeu fans are special with cultures from many different countries. But when you win over the Madrid fans, the Madridistas, the fans in the streets enjoy your play, appreciate you a lot and your manner of expressing joy, and the way you give everything to the shirt. The truth is that in the early years, I didn’t feel identified on the pitch. But after that I started to realise that the problem was with me, not the fans, because the fans are the way they are, it’s the Spanish mentality. In the third or fourth year, I began to know Madrid, both on the pitch and off it and I am not 100% happy. I love the people of Madrid, the Madridistas and Real Madrid. I’m living a dream when I enter the Bernabeu, the people like me a lot and I feel great. I want to stay here for many more years and finish my contract here because after Madrid, there’s no other club like it.
“I feel a great joy from the fans, mainly outside the stadium. On the streets, the elderly and the children, they like me a lot, they talk to me like a normal person. The older people who don’t watch football every day look at me differently and that makes me very happy and excited.
“In England they say that there is much more respect than there is here. It’s a different respect. It’s not that Spain doesn’t have respect, but it’s a different mentality. People are different, we have to get used to it. You have to win over people ad you have to struggle, but after you win them over, you have to maintain a level of professionalism that the people won’t forget. I speak not only for myself, I see other teammates with whom the fans are friendly with and see them as great professionals. I too want people to see me as a professional, a player who gives his all for the team. Both for the club and for the national team. I am a professional and I like playing football and giving my all.
“Yes, I think it’s possible I’ll retire at Real Madrid. I don’t think much about the future. I like to think of the here and now. When things are going well now, when you are comfortable and you’re motivated to do well, you couldn’t care less about the future. But the truth is, that right now, what I feel is that I want to finish my career here because I feel very comfortable. I love living in Madrid, I love playing at the best club in the world and I can’t ask for more.”
Cristiano went on to speak about his form, if he believes he will win the Ballon d’Or and, most importantly, will he go there to receive it.
“In my head, I always feel I can improve. My ambition is to always improve. Maybe I’ll get to a level that’s difficult to pass, but I always think there’s something I could improve. Perhaps, at this moment, I am better prepared and it may be one of the best moments of my career. I’m playing at a very high level and I hope to keep it going until the end of my career.
“I don’t just think [I’m the best player] this year. I’ve been playing at a very high level for many years. It’s not a coincidence. Since I’ve been at Madrid, I have shown people that I am here. But, as I said before, I can’t please everyone.
“I try to avoid issues [like changing by image to critics]. My image on the pitch is the most important thing for me. But, if I have improve the way people see me, that’s very important too. Age and experience may have made me see things differently. Maybe now I think differently than I did four years ago and I don’t make some of the mistakes I did then. That’s part of my development, and I’ve noticed I’m better balanced, so I’m happy.
“[If I win the Ballon d’Or] I will invite you all (the leukemia patients) to my party.
“I don’t think much about the Ballon d’Or, I know it will be presented in January but I can’t say if I will go. I prefer not to say anything because these things don’t just depend on me. I’m not obsessed with the Ballon d’Or, we’ll just have to see what happens.”