Ronaldo: I Wanted A New Challenge

Manchester United ace Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed the reasons behind his wish to move to Real Madrid, and stated that staying at Old Trafford will be an 'honour'.

The Portuguese winger has publicly admitted that he wants to stay at Manchester United after several weeks of speculation in which he expressed his desire for a move to Real Madrid.

According to Ronaldo, he decided to stay in Manchester after holding talks with his coach, Sir Alex Ferguson.

"My coach had the courtesy to meet with me some days ago in Lisbon, and I think that is already public," Ronaldo told Publico.

"It was an honest conversation, between two people who respect each other a lot and have a mutual affection and friendship. What we told each other stays between us."

Ronaldo admitted that his wish to play for Real Madrid is still very strong and did not rule out a future move to Santiago Bernabéu.

"The people that know me know well that only something very strong would make me think this (leaving Manchester United). Manchester United is a club that will forever be in my heart," he added.

"And that will always be true, no matter what happens in the future. I know what this club has done for me and I will always be grateful, no matter the circumstances. But, even because of that, even because I know that this is a different club, with an extraordinary human dimension, at some point I had some hope that my will and my reasons would be understood."

He went on to add: "After winning the Champions League, I felt that in five years I had helped the team win everything there was to win. We had won two league titles in a row and I had won the majority of individual awards, top goal-scorer of the Premier League and the Champions League in Europe.

"I thus felt that maybe I needed a new challenge. On the other hand, I had never hidden that I wished to play in Spain, namely at Real Madrid, and I thought this could be the moment to do it. Manchester and Real are probably the two biggest clubs in the world and that would never be an easy decision. Besides the new challenge that I sought, everyone understands that the Spanish lifestyle and culture are a lot closer to the Portuguese ones. These were, in fact, the reasons that made me ponder."

Ronaldo also used this interview to stress that the possibility of a better contract at Santiago Bernabéu was never a reason he considered to put an end to his five-year association with the Red Devils:

"I am aware that, in any circumstance, I would be a victim of speculation. I knew that there would always be people that would say that my biggest concern was a bigger salary," Ronaldo noted.

"Others would insist on the idea that my vanity could not resist the possibility of being attached to the biggest transfer of all time at just the age of 23. Of course, I am proud because my work is recognized, but none of this weighed decisively on my desire.

"Plus, if it was just for the money, I would never leave Manchester United. In addition to the reasons that I already referred, I also have to admit that my family would really welcome this change. The possibility of being one hour away by plane from my mother and my family was a strong attraction, especially because I would serve a club as big as Real Madrid. I know that I have to deal with these circumstances, even if sometimes it is hard for me too, but it is a bit painful to demand it from those I care the most about."

"The biggest proof of what I just said is the fact that I made a huge investment to buy a house in Manchester, when I did not even need to. I did it exactly to try to give maximum comfort not just to me, but also to the ones that are close to me. The people from Manchester United, namely the coach, understood my reasons.

"But we all ended up concluding that I should continue wearing Manchester United's number 7 shirt. It won't be a sacrifice for me, but a huge honour. I have important things to continue winning in England. And I will give my best for Manchester. I want to defend the European title and help Manchester become world champions. That, of course, without forgetting about winning the Premier League and the remaining competitions."

Ronaldo revealed, meanwhile, that he is not afraid of being booed by Manchester United's own fans after having declared that he would not like to return to Old Trafford.

"Honestly, no. I think that possibility is there, but I hope that won't happen," he said.

"I know I am a good professional, I know that no one demands more from himself than I do and I will continue doing it no matter the circumstances. The biggest joy in my career has been winning the Champions League. No one will erase it from my memory, just like no one will be able to erase the fact that I did it wearing Manchester United's shirt.

"What I publicly said, perhaps naively, I totally admit. People have to understand one thing: I reached a dream club like Manchester at the age of 18. I fulfilled a dream. But, even then, I had in my mind the wish to play some years in England and then play in Spain.

"I was already thinking about that back then and I never stopped doing my best because of that. Why lie? I won't be a hypocrite and say the opposite of what I think, like others do. I said exactly what I think: I have the dream of playing at Real Madrid and I thought it was time to leave. People can't criticize that I wanted to fulfil this dream I have had since I was a child."

Ronaldo added that he never considered breaching his contract with Manchester United and that he would only leave if his employers were to receive the right compensation.

"I confess that one of the reasons why I announced my desire was the fact that Manchester would be rightly compensated. The figures that were reported, which would be record-breaking, would be enough, at least materially, to pay the debt of gratitude I have to this club.

"I will hereby assume something I had never told anyone. If we had not won the Champions League, I would probably not even announced that I wanted to go to Real Madrid.

"And there is something very important that must be said: it was never my will to force my exit without Manchester United's consent. By refusing the offer, the United board also stressed how much they liked me. At that time, I did not totally understand it, but now I can give it its due value."

Ronaldo: I Wanted A New Challenge Reviewed by admin Ucop on 5:10 PM Rating: 5

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