Cristiano Ronaldo News

Sunday, October 15, 2006


[how come the content's so outdated. Merche is not his "high-profile" galfriend anymore! ]

14 October 2006

EXCLUSIVE: Old Trafford ace challenges defenders to catch him if they can
David McDonnell
CRISTIANO RONALDO has vowed to keep making fun of the Premiership's defenders - and carry on giving them nightmares.

While Wayne Rooney continues to struggle with form and temperament following his alleged V-sign to England fans in Croatia, Ronaldo aims to build on his breathtaking start to the season.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has hailed as "unbelievable" the Portuguese winger's contribution to the Premiership leaders and right now Ronaldo is unquestionably playing the best football of his brief but illustrious career.

Ronaldo, who is expected to recover from an ankle injury and return to domestic action in this afternoon's trip to Wigan, has warned his fearful opponents that there will be no let-up in his dazzling array of tricks.

"Some players say to me 'stop making fun of me or I'll kick you out of the game'," says Ronaldo in a Portuguese TV interview. "I remember being in a game for United and one player said that if I was going to start with my things he would sort me out.

"So I said sarcastically to him 'I'm so scared. You can try and take me if you want. I don't have a problem with that at all. Good luck'."

Back in June it was inconceivable that Ronaldo would become United's most important player this season, after he was vilified for his role in Rooney's sending-off in the World Cup quarter-final between England and Portugal.

Castigated as Public Enemy No.1 there were serious doubts Ronaldo would even return to United after the World Cup, with Real Madrid and Valencia offering him an escape route from the brutal abuse awaiting him in England.

Ronaldo has been booed by opposing fans throughout the season but has had the last laugh on his detractors by producing the most scintillating football of his career. He has thrived on adversity.

Now in his fourth season at United, Ronaldo reflected on how much he has matured as a player and as a person since he arrived at United as an unknown in July 2003 with the pimpled complexion of an adolescent and sporting braces on his buck teeth.

And he paid tribute to the way his family and late father helped him come to terms with living away from home and cope with the vitriolic fall-out from the World Cup episode with Rooney.

"I was 18 when I first arrived in Manchester," said Ronaldo.

"I was skinnier, smaller and I had braces on my teeth. Since then I have evolved, grown up, gained weight, lost the braces and gone through changes year after year.

"It's so important for a player to have his head in the right place. If you don't it becomes difficult to do the things you know. Already in my career I've passed some very bad situations. But that happens to everybody.

"Family is the most important support I have. If you don't have a good relationship with your family everything is more difficult.

My father was No.1 in my life. He is always in my heart. I have a picture of him in my house which I put up in a high position so I know he is always watching over me. He helped me a lot.

"The one thing I dislike is being alone. Sometimes my mother stays with me, other times my sister or friends. I never like to be alone."

Despite the trappings of a millionaire footballer's lifestyle, including the expensive cars, diamond studs in each ear and a highprofile girlfriend in Portuguese TV presenter Merche Romero, Ronaldo wants to be known for his football.

"I'm very happy to know people are talking about me for my work, not my personal life," said Ronaldo. "We live in a world where people like to gossip but I don't pay attention to that.

"I like to hear what people have to say about my football, what they think of me as a player for my team. That's what matters.

"Sometimes I reflect on the things that are happening in my career, for United and for the national team. There is a lot of responsibility on me but I think I take life in a tranquil way."

Dismissed as a one-trick pony when he arrived because of his propensity for too many step-overs, and criticised for his theatrical dives, Ronaldo has blended trickery and application to emerge as a player of real substance.


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