Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has said Russia brings him “good luck” in a recent interview with FIFA after scooping the world football governing body’s 2017 Best Men’s Player award.
Real Madrid ace Ronaldo was recognized as the greatest player on the planet by fellow pros during a plush awards ceremony in London on Monday, the fifth time he has received the honor.
In a subsequent interview with FIFA, Ronaldo was asked about 2018 World Cup host Russia, where he most recently visited with the Portugal national team for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
“I’ve already played there several times. I won the Champions League there; it’s a country that has brought me good luck,” Ronaldo replied.
“That wasn’t the case last time around with Portugal, because we weren’t able to win the Confederations Cup, but generally speaking the competition was worthwhile, a new experience.
“We lost to Chile on penalties, which are always a lottery, but looking on the positive side, it’s better that it happened there than at the World Cup.”
Ronaldo won his first Champions League winners medal in Moscow with former club Manchester United in 2008. He returned to the Russian capital in June to captain Portugal to a 1-0 win over hosts Russia at Otkrytie Arena, scoring the winner that day.
Reigning European champions Portugal have been marked out by some as potential favorites for World Cup glory in Russia next summer, something Ronaldo believes is “completely understandable.”
“We’re the reigning European champions and that inevitably creates high expectations, but I’d repeat what I said before the European Championships: Portugal are never favorites for major tournaments,” Real’s number 7 said.
“There are teams that are better than us on paper, and that have a higher profile or a better reputation. And so we have to approach it humbly, knowing that other countries will be favorites, but that we can maybe spring a surprise.”
Ronaldo’s manager at Madrid, Zinedine Zidane, was also honored at the awards with the Best FIFA Coach 2017 gong.
The event was attended by past and present greats, including Maradona and Cristiano’s Brazilian namesake Ronaldo, who were also present at the Confederations Cup final.