• A letter to Ronaldo

    My dear Ronaldo,

    (I'm sorry for writing in such a familiar way when I don't know you personally, but I am so fond of you that I can't write Dear Sir or something formal like that.)

    Like any public figure you know how fame attracts love and hate. Fame, wealth, success and talent. And when someone has these four elements combined, like you do, it's hard not to be constantly on the spotlight for all that hate and envy. But in your case, I believe that for every bit of hate, whether it comes from the high instances of Football or the lowest street bar, you receive the double in love. Yes, love. For like me, there are millions of other people who love and admire you and who know that you are an incredible man and athlete. And I know that fortunately you are aware of that too.

    I'm extremely proud of watching you play, no matter the colour of your jersey (although I regret it's not the Benfica one), not only because you're Portuguese like me but mainly because I am aware of the long and winding road you walked until you arrived where you stand today. The invidious like to talk about your haircut, your cars, your girlfriends, but they don't talk about the years you spent apart from your family, nor the days you stood on the training field while the others went home, running and practicing to become the extraordinary player you are. They talk about your fancy holidays or the parties you attend but they don't talk about the hospitals you visit, the kids you greet or the autographs you give to everyone, even when you're in a tight schedule and wish to go home quickly. They talk about your sisters' outfits or your mother's hairdo, but they don't talk about the love and security they give you, which undoubtedly gave you strength in the hard times and kept you on track, unlike other athletes who become blind by fame and money.

    Speaking of money, it is rightfully yours, literally earned with your sweat and tears, with your supernatural talent and I'm glad you can provide a fantastic life to the ones you love. Money never misled you, never took the joy away from your game and never stopped you from surpassing your limits. And it's been a pleasure to watch you surpassing your limits every time you play for the last ten years.

    I wasn't born in Pelé's golden days, I never watched "my" Eusébio play and I was just a little Barbie girl when Maradona and other great talent of the eighties were spreading their magic. The first time I paid attention to soccer was when I watched a documentary on Van Basten and I only became hooked to the game and I set foot on Estádio da Luz for the first time. I saw all great Portuguese (and foreign) players live several times, from the maestro Rui Costa to Luís Figo. But I've never seen a player like you. You have an element that only the greatest have. The element that makes us stay glued to the pitch, that makes us yell, that fills our hearts. The element of the legendary.

    To me, no matter what anyone says, you are the best in the world. The greatest ever! If only you wore the Benfica jersey...



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