“Winning. That’s the most important to me. It is as simple as that.” – Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo is a documentary film directed by Anthony Wonke. It stars arguably the best footballer now, Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF and the Portugal national team.
I expected it to be an enviable combination solely of the world of the beautiful game and the glamorous life of the young, rich and famous, but it is mostly about the private life of Cristiano Ronaldo. Do not get me wrong, Ronaldo is still CR7’s vanity project, but it is an intimate one that features his closest family and friends. It shows the different facets of Cristiano Ronaldo, including Cristiano Ronaldo the singer.
Ronaldo tackles the progress of Cristiano Ronaldo from a young football hopeful in Madeira, Portugal where his family lived in poverty, to his glitzy life in Madrid, Spain. To illustrate how far Ronaldo has come from his humble beginnings, at one point he asks his son, Cristiano Jr., which car is missing in the garage, and the five year-old boy answers, Rover, Porsche and Royce, like they are brands of candies. All of which receive a negative reply from the father because it is actually the Lamborghini that is missing. It seems like a humble brag moment, but Cristiano Ronaldo deserves all of it because he achieved success through “dedication and hardwork all the time, and belief”. He left his family in Madeira for Lisbon at the age of 12 to improve his football skills. He cried everyday but he persevered.
In 2003, at the age of 18, he transferred from Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United for 15 million euros. The suit-and-Rolex-wearing man behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s multi-million euro deals is Jorge Mendes, “the best, the Cristiano Ronaldo of agents”. Mendes is father, older brother, cheerleader and ego-stroker rolled into one neat package of a multi-lingual and smooth-talker of a super agent. They belong to a mutual admiration club where they love each other and themselves a little bit more than most. It is actually fun watching them fawn over each other. I thought this must be how Narcissus saw his reflection in the pool.
Ronaldo showcases Cristiano Jr. as much as it showcases his father’s sculpted body. Cristiano Jr. is adorable and sometimes too honest for his own good, which makes him all the more adorable. It is obvious that his father and his grandmother dote on him. Cristiano Ronaldo drives him to and fetches him from school, teaches him football, exercises with him and takes him to Real Madrid matches and to awards ceremonies. Like his father, he is competitive.
Hugo, Cristiano Ronaldo’s older brother, is also in Ronaldo. The ex-alcoholic is now a businessman and the manager Museu CR7, all because of family support. Alcoholism runs in the family since the father, Dinis Aveiro was an alcoholic who died of cirrhosis. He appeared in video footage and as a painting on the wall. The only notable woman in Ronaldo is Maria Dolores, the matriarch. She is quite candid in discussing her marital problems, Dinis’ mental state after he served in the Portuguese colonial war in Angola, her planned abortion of Cristiano Ronaldo the “unwanted child” and how that reversal has done wonders in terms of financial gains for the family. The issue about the almost abortion is non-existent as the relationship between Cristiano Ronaldo and his mother seems perfect.
Outside his inner circle of trusted people, Cristiano Ronaldo interacts mostly with teammates and fans, and this is where a less serious side of CR7 comes out. On a flight with his Portuguese teammates, he sings Rihanna’s “Stay” complete with emotion and hand movements. He is actually good.
Another interesting footage shows the Portugal national team training session in Moises Lucarelli Stadium in Brazil to prepare for their group match in the 2014 World Cup. In the midst thousands of fans chanting “Cristiano”, a young woman streaks across the field, almost successfully evading security personnel just to get within spitting distance of her idol. The members of the media tell the footballer the great pains the girl has taken just for her hope be snuffed out at the last minute. He just smiles and jokes about the girl’s physical fitness. Later on, he meets and hugs the girl. The girl excitedly shouts, “he knows I exist!” and predictably so, she asks him to “follow me on Twitter”.
Ronaldo does not completely ignore the bread and butter of its protagonist, so there is a series of obligatory football clips that highlight Cristiano Ronaldo’s careers in Portugal, England and Spain. As a whole, La Décima takes the spotlight for a bit and is gone in a blink of an eye, followed by the celebration where CR7 is the center of attraction.
Anything Cristiano Ronaldo is not complete without the looming presence of his archrival, FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, and Ronaldo is not an exception. Messi appears intermittently throughout the movie, either as himself in Ballon d’Or ceremonies, four out of seven of which he has won, and as a “gladiator” in “an arena where football legends are born, El Clásico”. He also acts as Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow that makes the former work harder and strive for excellence. According to Cristiano Ronaldo himself, they have been “busting our balls to see who is better” for years, but recently, their relationship to each other has been better. One of the most memorable moments in the movie involves Messi and the younger Cristiano. It happens before the 2014 Ballon d’Or ceremonies, they are in the same room and Messi comes over to Cristiano Jr., kisses him and makes small talk. The effusive child is unusually quiet. His father teases him about being shy in front of his rival.
Cristiano Ronaldo once famously (notoriously?) said that “por ser rico, guapo, por ser un gran jugador…La gente tiene envidia de mí” (for being rich, handsome, being a great player…People are envious of me). Sometimes, it is difficult to dislike people like him, even when they come across as narcissistic because it is hard to argue with success.
Ronaldo shows the human side of Cristiano Ronaldo, not the machine version of himself that is mostly vilified primarily due to his rivalry with Lionel Messi. Cristiano Ronaldo rose up from poverty using his God-given ability coupled with unquenchable thirst for excellence, takes care of his family and has a sense of humor. He takes his shirt off more than necessary, but if I had his body, I am sure I would do the same, if not more often. 🙂 I cannot throw shade on anyone who says, “I love the pressure. When I’m not gonna have this pressure I wanna take my boots, put them aside and finish my career. That’s it.” That is a winner right there.
More Quotes from Ronaldo (documentary film):
“I don’t think he found the word “to lose” in the dictionary. He’s still looking for it.” -Ricardo Regufe, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Personal Manager
“I did not know my father from the heart.” – Cristiano Ronaldo
“I’ve never told anyone and never will. I think I should keep that to myself. And later, when Cristiano is grown up, then I will talk to him, and tell him what I did, what I felt, everything that went through my mind.” – Cristiano Ronaldo, on the identity of Cristiano Jr.’s mother
“Some kids never get to know their parents, neither father nor mother. Having a father is good enough.” – Cristiano Ronaldo, on single parenthood
“I wanna live like a king. This is why I work hard.” – Cristiano Ronaldo
“I live obsessed about him everyday. But he deserves it.” – Jorge Mendes on Cristiano Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent
“The Ballon d’Or is a day when your heart beats faster. You sweat more. You’re more anxious, more tired, both psychologically and physically. It’s a very intense day.” – Cristiano Ronaldo
“It’s the climax of a year’s work, of a career that started when I was 11 years old, playing football with the goal of being the best, winning trophies, winning titles, having a good life, making money…everything. It’s all part of the same package. It’s a card inside an envelope that can change so much.” – Cristiano Ronaldo, on winning the Ballon d’Or