Intimate docu on Ronaldo’s life – Star Wars director says aimed for ‘delightful’ movie

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Cristiano Ronaldo and his son Cristiano Ronaldo Junior (foreground) pose for photographers upon arrival at the world premiere of the film ‘Ronaldo’ in London on Nov 9. (AP)
Cristiano Ronaldo and his son Cristiano Ronaldo Junior (foreground) pose for photographers upon arrival at the world premiere of the film ‘Ronaldo’ in London on Nov 9. (AP)

LONDON, Nov 10, (AFP): Cristiano Ronaldo has no regrets after making an intimate documentary about his life and career, he told a press conference in London to mark the film’s launch on Monday.

Made by the team behind award-winning films about Ayrton Senna and Amy Winehouse, ‘Ronaldo’ charts Ronaldo’s life between Real Madrid’s European Cup triumph in 2014 and his third Ballon d’Or crown in January 2015.

The film’s revelations include a confession by Ronaldo’s mother, Dolores, that she wanted to abort him, while Ronaldo talks openly about his brother and late father’s struggles with alcoholism.

He also defends his decision not to disclose the identity of his son Cristiano’s mother, but when asked if he felt he had opened up too much, the Madrid superstar replied: “Maybe, but I just had fun.

“I don’t regret anything. I feel unbelievable. When you do something people will find reason to criticise you, but it’s normal.”

The film captures intimate moments at home between Ronaldo and his five-year-old son — who he dubs “my successor” — and shows him relaxing with friends including his agent, Jorge Mendes.


The Portugal captain, 30, discusses his obsession with winning the Ballon d’Or, which he has won for the past two seasons after seeing his great Barcelona rival Lionel Messi walk away with it for the previous four years.

“I’ve started seeing him as a person, not a rival,” Ronaldo says of the Argentine.

On speculation about the identity of his son’s mother, Ronaldo, who describes himself in the film as an “isolated person” with few friends in football, says: “I’ve never told anybody and I never will.”

Asked at the press conference why the film does not feature Irina Shayk, the Russian model who he split from last January, Ronaldo said it was because the filmmakers “didn’t see a strong part to put in the movie”.

He also refused to be drawn on the crisis surrounding suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who is pictured in the film during scenes shot at various Ballon d’Or galas.

“When Cristiano says something it’s a huge thing. I’m not going to be involved in these problems,” Ronaldo said. “What do you expect me to say?”

The film also reveals that a promise by former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson that Ronaldo would play in 50 percent of the club’s games prompted him to move to Old Trafford in 2003.

Mendes says that Ferguson’s offer was key in encouraging the winger, then an 18-year-old rising star at Sporting Lisbon, to reject rival offers from clubs including Barcelona and Inter Milan.


Speaking on Monday, Ronaldo said: “When Sir Alex Ferguson says, ‘Cristiano, I want you to come to Manchester United, you’re going to play 50 percent of the games,’ it made me feel comfortable and I said, ‘Wow.’

“Because 18 years old, to play 50 percent of the games, for me it’s unbelievable. Jorge helped me to take that decision and of course the last word of Sir Alex Ferguson was the key to sign for Manchester United.”

A tuxedo-clad Ronaldo was greeted by hundreds of fans when he arrived with his mother and son for the film’s official premiere at a London cinema on Monday.

Ronaldo was reunited with Ferguson on the red carpet and hugged the Scot in a warm embrace.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti, who both managed Ronaldo at Madrid, and former United team-mates Gary Neville and Louis Saha were among a celebrity-packed audience.

Ronaldo was presented with an award for being the “most liked person on Facebook in the world”, while he also attempted to set a record for the most selfies taken in three minutes as he snapped photos with eager fans.

“I’m proud and excited to show off this movie,” Ronaldo said. “I did this for the fans, this film is for them.”

How do you make a Star Wars movie “delightful”?

That is the question that was foremost on filmmaker J.J. Abrams’s mind as he embarked on the mammoth task of making the new Star Wars movie.

“That was really the only requirement Larry and I imposed on each other: The movie needed to be delightful,” Abrams told Wired, referring to Lawrence Kasdan, the film’s co-writer.

“It was not about explaining everything away, not about introducing a certain number of toys for a corporation, not about trying to appease anyone,” he added in the latest issue of the monthly magazine published Monday.

“This has only ever been about what gets us exited.”

The latest installment of the much-anticipated Star Wars saga, “The Force Awakens,” opens in US theaters on December 18 and fans are snapping up any tidbit of information about the film ahead of its release.

On Friday, fans went wild as a new version of the film’s trailer with new footage was released with no prior warning on the Japanese version of the Star Wars website, prompting speculation about the plot and analysis of each picture frame.

Abrams said the fact that he was making the first film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy allowed him some leeway in how he approached the project.

“It’s not very often that you get to work on something where you know there is a continuum,” he said.

“And it’s kind of great. It unburdens you.”

He also hinted that he realized he had big shoes to fill given what George Lucas was able to do with the first Star Wars movie, “let alone the next ones.”

“Forget how incredible it looked, forget the technology, forget the humor of it, the heart, the romance, the adventure — all the amazing moments that made us love it,” he told Wired.

“Think about what he was able to stir up,” Abrams added. “This, to me, is one of the greatest things about Star Wars.”

The director also said he could not fathom not releasing any trailers until just before the movie’s opening given the wide appeal of the sci-fi series.

“I… pushed to have a teaser come out a year before, just because it felt like, as a fan of Star Wars, if I could see even the littlest thing, I’d be psyched a year out,” said Abrams, whose directorial work includes “Star Trek” and “Mission: Impossible III.”

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