Cristiano, the biography of Ronaldo, the man who wanted to be loved

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Cristiano, the biography of Ronaldo, the man who wanted to be loved

Five-time Ballon d’Or, record hunter and frustrated glory at Manchester United, who dismissed him for a time after a refusal to enter the game 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 decipher it and publish his first book with Flammarion editions. On sale this Wednesday, November 9 (19.90 euros), cristiano draws the intimate portrait of a man much more sensitive and torn than in appearance. We have selected some of the best sheets.

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

” Paris ? The door is open “

CR7 (34 years old at the time), during a meal following the match of C1 Juventus Turin-Lokomotiv Moscow (2-1), October 22, 2019

“So, Cristiano, when do we see you in Paris?” I knew Ronaldo loved the capital. And that he sometimes traveled there on his days off, incognito. Above all, I was sure he dreamed of being summoned 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.” It was said. […] He insisted: “Just with the Portuguese from the Paris region, the club could fill the stadium. I see myself well at the Parc des Princes, in front of fifty thousand Portuguese. That would be great.” It was no longer a chimera but an offer of service. If Nasser al-Khelaïfi had been in the room that evening, he would have had only a piece of paper to hand him to make him a PSG striker. It was too easy, almost unreal. For five minutes, CR7 boasted to me of the charms of the Parisian club as probably none of its leaders would have been able to do.

The whole catalog was there. Paris was rich, Paris had ambition, Paris had Neymar and Mbappé, two players he adored. Paris had witnessed his coronation with Portugal in 2016. Paris would understand it better than anyone, Paris would make it sparkle more than any of its lights. And Paris would necessarily offer him a new Ballon d’Or. In the room of the Tàola restaurant, area of ​​​​the Turin club, CR7 declaimed aloud his vibrant love letter for PSG. »

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

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

“Lionel Messi. ”The other guy”, as Jorge Mendes (Ronaldo’s agent) used to say. Cristiano respected what Messi was doing. From the depths of his probity, I am even certain that he admired her. And that’s probably why he hated not the player, but the man. ”It’s so easy to stay in your bubble when you’re successful, he threw at me suddenly, without ever naming the person who animated his resentment. Do not step out of your comfort zone (Editor’s note: Messi will leave Barca for PSGin the summer of 2021), as I have always done. Look, I dared to come to Turin, to change club, Championship, football culture. I put myself in danger. I took this risk which I am sure caused me to lose the Ballon d’Or last year. I don’t regret anything, but…” The conjunction had betrayed him. This ”but” obviously meant yes, of course he was sorry!

[…] I felt the sap rising. But I was still amazed when he gave me this pitiless sentence, straight out of his atavistic resentment: ”If Messi wins the Ballon d’Or this year, I quit football!” The charge was as surprising as it was violent. Instinctively, she wanted to be a dissuasive threat and harbored all the aversion inspired in her by the man without whom he would have reigned, unchallenged and unequivocal, over the kingdom of the penguins, as the world of football is nicknamed. This diatribe meant above all that a victory for the Argentinian was truly unbearable for him. It would put an end to this hope, omnipresent with him, of overtaking him on the Ballon d’Or list. To outclass him. And even to lower it, if only for the space of a year. The omnipotence of Messi therefore bristled to the point of throwing in the towel. » (Editor’s note: Messi finally won the Ballon d’Or in 2019then in 2021bringing 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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