Manu Sainz/Tomás Roncero
In part two of his exlusive interview with AS, Cristiano Ronaldo spoke about his dispute with José Mourinho after Madrid's Copa del Rey first leg tie against Valencia, declaring that the rift between the two was over. He also gave his opinion on the slump in form of fellow forwards Gonzalo Higuaín and Karim Benzema and looked forward to the Champions League tie with former club Manchester United next week.
And he offered his opinion on journalist and Iker Casillas's girlfriend Sara Carbonero's declarations about a supposed rift between the Madrid squad and Mourinho.
"Everyone has the right to say what they want, but I don't think she should have done it," he said.
Your mother told AS in January 2008 that she didn't want to die before she had seen her son play for Real Madrid. Did you really want to go to Madrid that badly?
Yes, when I decided to leave Manchester United there were several other big clubs that wanted to sign me. But what I wanted more than anything else since I was a kid was to play for Real Madrid, and I wouldn't stop until I had achieved that. Seeing the Bernabéu sold-out for my presentation was very important for me, I will never forget that image.
The Bernabéu have sung 'Cristiano, Balon d'Or" on a number of occasions this season. Many people thought you deserved to win it this year.
I dreamt about winning it after the brilliant season we had last season but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be. But I cannot just live for individual awards because I would never be happy. That's why I am trying to be happy at Real Madrid and play better every day, help my team and try to make the crowd happy.
Were you surprised that Messi did not mention you in his speech when he received the Ballon d'Or?
It didn't surprise me. He didn't even vote for me as one of the best three players of the year, so I wasn't surprised at all.
What do you think of the fact that Mourinho didn't go to the awards ceremony in Zurich?
It was his decision and I respect it. I think he knew well what was going to happen, perhaps he is smarter than the others. I didn't know as well as him what was going to happen, which is why I understand his decision. However, individual prizes are worth nothing to me, I only think about winning trophies with my teams, with Madrid and Portugal.
You have kept up your ferocious goalscoring record this season but Benzema and Higuaín have scored a lot fewer goals than last season. What has happened to them?
It's a question of personal pride and it's related to the overall performance of the team, it's a very complicated subject. I can't give a definitive evaluation because they are both very good players and it's very complicated for them because they don't play every game. It would be like if I didn't always play because there was another great player in my position. If I only played from time to time it would be difficult for me to cope with. They are both top strikers, very good strikers, but it's also a difficult decision for Mourinho, who has to decide which one plays, it's a complicated task for the boss. But I think they are both playing well and I'm sure they're going to help us in our bid to win the Champions League and the Copa del Rey.
Do you think they feel intimidated when they play alongside a striker like you who scores 60 goals per season?
You can't just evaluate a player for his goals. Pipita and Benzema work very hard to help the team. I don't just judge them for the goals they score. There are other great players like Xabi Alonso, Khedira and Ozil who are brilliant players but who score few goals. We will only ever win things if we all play together.
On the other side of the coin there is Varane, who you have always spoken highly of.
Varane is learning a lot as a player and as a person and I'm sure he's going to turn into a top centre-half. He is quick, great in the air and offers us tranquillity at the back. He's got a lot of experience despite his youth. He's humble and for me in a couple of years he will become one of the best centre-backs in the world, I have no doubt about that.
Do you know what Mourinho is going to do at the end of the season?
I don't know, I think he'll stay on at least until the end of the season, because he is a coach that always wants to win and we still have some challenges left. After that he will decide what is best for him, for the players and the club. But I don't know what he or the club thinks.
What happened between you and Mourinho? Were you surprised by the argument you had with him? The fans sure were..
It's a very personal issue, it's been resolved now and everything is fine. What happens in the dressing room stays in the dressing room.
Next week you will play your former club Manchester United again. How do you feel about the game?
It will be special because everyone knows that I played for the club for six years and that I still have a lot of affection for them. But the game is just a game, I'm not going to war, I'm just going to play a match and enjoy myself and try to help my team knock them out. We'll all have to give our all if we are to stay in the competition, I'm preparing myself so I can be in perfect condition for the tie.
Your good friends Nani and Anderson are still at United..
Yes, I spoke to Nani while with Portugal and we have been joking with each other about the tie. It will be a great European clash and I haven't forgotten that it we'll be facing the best team in England at the moment.
Are you looking forward to meeting Alex Ferguson again?
I have a very good relationship with Alex Ferguson and it's going to be a great moment for him and me when we meet again. It will also be special for me to be reunited with the fans at Old Trafford, they always treated me well and I believe they still treat me well, I am very fond of them.
You were not at the club at the time, but everyone still talks about the clashes between United and Madrid in the early 2000s, that piece of skill by Redondo and Ronaldo's hat-trick.
Yes, they told me all about those games. They were wonderful games for the fans in the stadium and they were very exciting. I'm sure that this tie is going to throw up great pieces of skill and goals for us to remember. They are going to be two difficult games and I haven't forgotten that the return leg is at Old Trafford, a precious stadium with fans who never stop cheering on their players.
Do you think Madrid are the favourites?
You can't say that in a clash between two great clubs. I think we are the better team, but we have to prove that on the pitch.
Madrid are still missing key players in Pepe and Casillas. Pepe will be back soon, but the captain will be out for a while. What do you make of their absences?
We miss Pepe a lot because he is a very important defender for us, but this squad has a lot of depth and we have a lot of quality players worth their place in the team. Pepe will return soon and it will be like a new singing. His return will make everyone happy and it'll motivate the team.
He's a big loss but we have signed Diego López, who is a great goalkeeper and who is going to do a great job for us.
Were you surprised when Sara Carbonero, Casillas's girlfriend said on television that the Madrid dressing room had a difficult relationship with Mourinho?
There are some things I am not fit to talk about but it's a delicate situation and I don't think it was the right thing to do. However, people are free to say what they want even though I think that it was not good, because the business of the dressing room should stay in the dressing room and if you know something you shouldn't report it to the press. But I repeat that everyone has the right to say whatever they want.