Cristiano, the biography of Ronaldo, is the man who wants to be loved

Five-time Ballon d’Or, record hunter and failed glory at Manchester United, who dismissed him shortly after refusing to play against Tottenham (2-0, October 19), Cristiano Ronaldo is an ambivalent character. Thierry Marchand, former journalist at France Soccer, relied on nine face-to-face meetings with CR7, now 37, to understand it and publish his first book with Flammarion editions. On sale this Wednesday, November 9 (19.90 euros), christian paints an intimate portrait of a man who is more sensitive and torn than he looks. We have selected some of the best sheets.

The cover of Christian, by Thierry Marchand, published by Flammarion. 272 pages, 19.90€. (Flammarion)

“Paris? The door is open”

CR7 (then 34 years old), while eating following the match of C1 Juventus Turin-Lokomotiv Moscow (2-1), October 22, 2019

“So, Cristiano, when will we see you in Paris?” I know Ronaldo loves the capital. And sometimes he travels there on his days off, incognito. Above all, I’m sure he dreamed of being called up there again, to receive a sixth Ballon d’Or. His answer sounded like a promise, but not in the way I expected: ”The door is open.” already said. […] He asserted: “With only the Portuguese from the Paris region, the club will fill the stadium. I see myself at the Parc des Princes, in front of fifty thousand Portuguese. That’s great.” It is no longer a chimera but a service offer. If Nasser al-Khelaïfi had been in the room that night, he would have given him just a piece of paper to make him a PSG striker. It’s too easy, almost unreal. For five minutes, CR7 boasted to me the beauty of the Parisian club in a way that probably none of its leaders could.

The whole catalog is there. Paris is rich, Paris has ambition, Paris is Neymar and Mbappé, two players he admires. Paris witnessed his coronation with Portugal in 2016. Paris will understand this better than anyone, Paris will make it sparkle more than any of its lights. And Paris must offer him a new Ballon d’Or. In the room of the Tàola restaurant, venue of the Turin club, CR7 declared loudly his passionate love letter for PSG. »

Kylian Mbappé against Cristiano Ronaldo, February 14, 2018 in Madrid (Real's 3-1 victory over PSG).  (Benjamin Cremel/The Team)

Kylian Mbappé against Cristiano Ronaldo, February 14, 2018 in Madrid (Real’s 3-1 victory over PSG). (Benjamin Cremel/The Team)

“Lionel Messi. ”The other guy”, as Jorge Mendes (Ronaldo’s agent) once said. Cristiano respects what Messi does. From the depths of his fortitude, I’m sure he admired her. And that’s probably why he hates not the player, but the man. ”It’s very easy to stay in your bubble when you’re successful, he threw stones at me suddenly, without ever naming the person who animated his resentment. Don’t go out of your comfort zone (Editor’s note: Messi will leave Barça for PSG in the summer of 2021), as I always do. Look, I dared to go to Turin, to change club, Championship, football culture. I put myself in danger. I took this risk which I’m sure caused me to lose the Ballon d’Or last year. I have no regrets, but…” The conjunction betrayed him. This ”but” obviously meant yes, of course he apologized!

[…] I felt the juice rise. But I was still amazed when he gave me this pitiless sentence, right out of his atavistic resentment: ”If Messi wins the Ballon d’Or this year, I’ll quit football!” The allegation is as shocking as it is violent. Instinctively, he wants to be a dissuasive threat and harbor all the aversion inspired in him by one who without him would reign, unchallenged and unambiguous, in the kingdom of penguins, as the world of football is nicknamed. This diatribe mainly means that a victory for the Argentinian is really unbearable for him. It will end this hope, which is everywhere, that he will overtake the Ballon d’Or list. To outclass him. And even lower it, if only for the space of a year. The omnipotence of Messi therefore bristled at the point of throwing in the towel. » (Editor’s note: Messi finally won the Ballon d’Or in 2019, then in 2021, bringing his total to seven trophies.)

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi at the Santiago-Bernabéu stadium, during the Clasico on April 23, 2017. (Franck Faugère / L'Équipe)

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi at the Santiago-Bernabéu stadium, during the Clasico on April 23, 2017. (Franck Faugère / L’Équipe)

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