They were kind of laughing about. I wasnt even on Sportings first team yet, advantages but I had that belief. I really meant. When I started playing professionally at 17, my mother could barely watch because of the stress. She would come to watch me play at the old Estádio josé Alvalade, and she got so nervous during big games that she passed out a few times. Seriously, she passed out. The doctors started prescribing her sedatives just for my matches. I would say to her, remember when you didnt care about football?
I started sneaking out of the dormitory at night to go work out. I beauty got bigger and faster. And then I would walk onto the field — and the people who used to whisper, yeah, but hes so skinny? Now they would be looking at me like it was the end of the world. When I was 15, i turned to some of my teammates during training. I remember it so clearly. I said to them, Ill be the best in the world one day.
I was going to stop playing like a kid. I was going to stop acting like a kid. I was going to train like i could be the best in the world. I dont know where this feeling came from. It was just inside. Its like a hunger that never goes away. When you lose, its like youre starving. When you win, its still like youre starving, but you ate a little crumb. This is the only way i can explain.
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I didnt know anybody, and it was extremely lonely. My family could only afford to come visit me every four months. I was missing them so much that every day was painful. Football kept me going. I knew I was doing things on the field that the other kids at the academy couldnt. I remember the first time i heard one of the kids say to another kid, did you see what he did? This guy is a resume beast.
I started hearing it all the time. Even from the coaches. But then somebody would always say, yeah but its a shame hes so small. And its true, i was skinny. I had no muscle. So i made a decision at 11 years old. I knew I had a lot of talent, but I decided that I was going to work harder than everybody.
I felt protected and loved. In Portuguese, we say menino querido da família. I look back on the memory with nostalgia, because that period of my life turned out to be short. Football gave me everything, but it also took me far away from home before i was really ready. When I was 11 years old, i moved from the island to the academy at Sporting Lisbon, and it was the most difficult time in my life. Its crazy for me to think about now.
My son, Cristiano., is 7 years old as Im writing this. And I just think about how I would feel, packing up a bag for him in four years and sending him to paris or London. And Im sure it seemed impossible for my parents to do with. But it was my opportunity to pursue my dream. So they let me go, and I went. I cried almost every day. I was still in Portugal, but it was like moving to another country. The accent made it like a completely different language. The culture was different.
It was like something switched inside. I was really proud. At that time, we didnt have much money. Life was a struggle back then in Madeira. I was playing in whatever old boots my brother passed down to me or my cousins gave. But when youre a kid, you dont care about money. You care about a certain feeling. And on that day, this feeling, it was very strong.
But still, i would look to the sidelines before every match and see my dad standing there alone. Then one day — i will never forget this image — i was warming up and looked over and I saw my mom and sisters sitting together on the bleachers. They looked how do i say this? They were kind of huddled close together, and they proposal were not clapping or yelling, they were just waving to me, like i was in a parade or something. They definitely looked like they had never been to a football match before. But they were there. Thats all I cared about. I felt so good in that moment. It meant a lot.
and say, cristiano scored two goals! They would just say, oh, thats really nice, cris. So what could I do? I just kept scoring and scoring. One night, my father came home and said, Cristiano scored three goals! You have to come see him play!
I knew it would make him really proud, so i went. The first day, there were a lot of rules that I essay didnt understand, but I loved. I got addicted to the structure and the feeling of winning. My father was on the sidelines at every match with his big beard and his work trousers. But my mother and my sisters had no interest in football. So every night at dinner, my father kept trying to recruit them to come see me play. It was like he was my first agent.
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T here is a strong memory i have from when I was 7 years old. It is so clear to me that I can picture it right now, and it makes me feel warm. It has to do with my family. I had just started playing real football. Before, i was just playing in the streets of Madeira with my friends. And when I say the street, i dont mean an empty road. I really mean a street. We didnt have goals or anything, and we had to stop the game whenever the cars would drive. I was completely happy doing that every day, but my father was the kitman for resume cf andorinha — and he kept encouraging me to go and play for the youth team.