Cristiano Ronaldo looks back on an incredible year and tells the uefa.com Magazine he wants to do it again.
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According to Cristiano Ronaldo, there is no tougher taskmaster than he is to himself. The Portugal winger spent the turn of the year collecting one award after another, reaping the rewards of an exceptional 12 months with Manchester United FC. Having set such high standards, he is determined to maintain them.
"I know I've won a lot, but I'm the one who set the bar at that level," he told uefa.com. "Now I have to be prepared for what happens in the future. I'm a player with a lot of ambition and a strong character. No matter what others might say, I'll keep thinking that way. I'll continue to do the things I've done since 2003, 2004, 2005. Nothing will change in me, probably the opposite. My ambition will grow – to win at club level as well as personally. Because the feeling I get from winning is a good one. I'm a winner and I'm going to want more victories."
Ronaldo was in Zurich on 12 January to add the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year crown to the Ballon d'Or he picked up in Paris the previous month. He scored eight goals in United's victorious UEFA Champions League campaign and 31 more as they reclaimed the Premier League title – achievements also recognised by uefa.com users who voted him into their Team of the Year 2008.
Dream come true
"Winning the domestic championship, winning the Champions League, then becoming champions of the world – it was a spectacular year," the 24-year-old said. "And on a personal level it was phenomenal. It was a dream to be named European Footballer of the Year. That was what I had longed for over many years. It's very important because it's my country, my colours [that I represent] ... and you are being referred to as the best. I'm now on the same page as great players like Eusébio and [Luís] Figo. But I'm definitely not going to relax, because I want to win more. The feeling was so good that I want to repeat it."
Icing the cake
Personal gongs, though, come second to team glory. "I'm fortunate to play at a big club with great players, who can win many things. The individual prizes come as the icing on the cake and that's what happened last year. When you get on the pitch, what you want most of all is to help the team win, to score goals and make assists, and that's what I try to do."
Since arriving from Sporting Clube de Portugal in 2003, Ronaldo has proved to be one of the most important signings of Sir Alex Ferguson's 22 years at the Old Trafford helm. Not surprisingly, the No7 is quick to credit the manager for his part in his success. "I came to the club because of him, because he watched me in a few matches and liked the way I played. I've evolved with him and we've won many things together.
"I've learned a lot from him and I feel privileged to work with him. The success we have as players, he also has. I hope to win more with him. I'm very happy to have won trophies with him because he's a great coach and he deserves it." And, Ronaldo insists, there is plenty more to learn from Sir Alex. "If you think you know everything, you won't get anywhere. I think I still have a lot to learn. The toughest part of my learning curve is still to come. At the end of my career, I'll still be learning.
Value of experience
"That's what I want most, and I know I have to improve some things. But that comes with time and with playing games. The experience you gain helps, in the sense that at the right moment you do the right thing. I have my whole career in front of me. If I think I've seen it all and done it all, I'm wrong. I still have a lot to go through, and I'm prepared for that. And I'm completely prepared to win more."