Although he treats all the players the same, he also understands that, as in any sport or job, he needs to treat the special players not differently, but with more care. At the end of the day, it’s good for the team that you use the players as effectively as you can. Even when you maybe feel that you haven’t got the strength to last the whole ninety minutes, or you feel that you can’t run any more, then you need to do it for the coach. I will do it for him, because he deserves it as he has always taken care of me. Most of my teammates feel the same – players admire him and will hurt for him.
You can see this in the way I played in the Champions League final in 2014. I was injured a month before the game and he said to me a few times, ‘Cristiano, if you don’t feel good, just let me know. It will be tough on me because even if you are only fifty per cent you’re still our most important player.’ So I played. I didn’t play unbelievably well, but I scored a penalty – my seventeenth goal in the Champions League that season, a record – and we won the competition. I wasn’t fully fit, but I made the sacrifice for Carlo.
Every player should be humble and know that they don’t know everything about football. I always look to learn and take some pointers from every coach. I take a point off this one, a point off that one, because they know – they are older and have the experience. They are not going to teach me how to play football or how to kick the ball, but if you are smart, you can take advantage of every coach and learn about many things that, in my opinion, are important. With Carlo, he develops even the best players by continually making them motivated to work for him. He always motivates me. He would say, ‘Bomba’ – he calls me Bomba, which is Italian for bomber – ‘Let’s go – today you’re going to score a goal; you are going to win us the game, Bomba.’ Even when I didn’t score a goal in the first half, he would speak to me in the dressing room at half-time. ‘You’re going to score,’ he’d say. ‘You’re playing unbelievable.’ He was always giving me confidence, all the time, and for me the most important thing is that he cares for me. He would always take care of me. These qualities are why every club wants him. He’s a special coach.
The conversation between Cristiano Ronaldo and Florentino Pérez about CR7’s knee injury, shortly before Real Madrid make their way to the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon to play the Champions League Final 2014 vs. Atlético Madrid.