Monday 22 December 2014 23:28, UK
Guillem Balague blogs on The Making of Ronaldo, the Sky Sports documentary on the Real Madrid star's childhood and rise through the ranks at Sporting Lisbon, available On Demand and via Sky Go now...
I am writing a book on Cristiano Ronaldo and as part of the research, I travelled to Funchal and Lisbon. I approached Sky with the idea: I wanted to explain what happened to Ronaldo before he jumped on the pitch at Old Trafford against Bolton - which is actually the end of the documentary.
Ronaldo’s obsession with football and taking it to the extreme he has isn’t normal.
Paul King, Head of Documentaries at Sky, reacted really quickly and within a few minutes, I had Christian Pickwoad and Dan Reston joining me on the trip. The team worked perfectly well together and the pictures and video we got are amazing. Both Dan and Christian instantly got the idea of what we were trying to do, which was to look at the soul and early years of Cristiano.
Christian has done an amazing job of putting together a lot of hours of interviews; I think we did 16 interviews in those 10 days. Dan also captured the spirit of what we wanted to do, along with the music and how Christian and the team have put it together. That makes it what it is.
What we found through kids that played with Ronaldo in the street and Aurelio Pereira, the head of youth at Sporting Lisbon, and some of his coaches from Nacional, were stories that confirmed you can have talent but unless you work really hard, then you will go nowhere. And Ronaldo works extremely hard. We wanted to show that.
There is also a touch of reality. Ronaldo's obsession with football and taking it to the extreme he has isn't normal. There is certainly a lesson to be learnt that if you want something, you have to focus, work very hard and never lose track of where you've come from, your upbringing or where you are going.
We get a lot of stories about how Arsenal approached Sporting Lisbon and how Manchester United signed him. But mostly, we hear stories from old team-mates at Sporting and people who have lived similar experiences.
We speak to the father of a 12-year-old who has left Funchal to go to Sporting and how the hardest days for their family are the birthdays that they are unable to celebrate together. Or the fact that he can't hug or kiss his son before he goes to sleep at night. We try to understand what Cristiano's parents went through, especially his mother, who he is very close to. Ronaldo is a mummy's boy!
It's been a pleasure for me to be involved in this and find out what Ronaldo is about. It is fascinating to look into the minds of these elite players. Footballers such as Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are unique but so similar because of experiences in their younger years. Things like the crying, the difficulties and the sacrifices that these young boys face when they leave home, how it makes you mature before your years and I think we see all that from Ronaldo.
Things like moving away from home at a young age, having your team-mates and club staff as your family because you left yours at home at the age of 11, all that creates a persona; when you see him celebrating in the Champions League final, it's him saying: "I've made it. All those years of sacrifices have brought me here." He feels he can celebrate exactly as he wants to.
The Making of Ronaldo is available On Demand and via Sky Go now and will be shown on Sky Sports 1 HD on January 11 after Super Sunday. I hope you enjoy it! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers!
I would also like to thank the work put in by William Glasswell, Maribel Herruzo, Marc Joss and many more who helped produce this documentary.