Cristiano Ronaldo says happiness doesn't depend on Ballon d'Or
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Ballon d'Or five times in his career, but he says he's not consumed by adding to his tally.
The Portuguese superstar has 27 goals in all competitions this season and bounced back from some early-season struggles to score eight in Madrid's last four games.
Ahead of winning football's most prestigious individual award for the fifth time, Ronaldo said in November he wanted to win seven Ballons d'Or. But in an interview with Brazilian Youtube channel Desimpedidos, he said he would be content to finish with five.
"I never dreamt of winning five Ballons d'Or," Ronaldo said. "But if my career had to end now, I would do so very happily. I've won everything. Of course I would be delighted to win one two or three more Ballons d'Or but if I don't, I've already won five.
"It's obviously my ambition and I still have the capacity to do so and the strength to fight to be the best in the world although others believe the contrary. I have confidence in myself. But it all depends on the trophies that we win this season, on how I finish [the campaign] and on the World Cup."
Ronaldo also said that while he always considered himself "special," he did not know he could become the best player in the world until he arrived at Manchester United in 2003.
"I knew I was a special child," the 33-year-old said. "I was the same age as my teammates but I felt I was better than them because I did things they couldn't do. But it's very difficult to know when you are going to win a Ballon d'Or.
"I played at Sporting, I then went to Manchester and then I thought I'm playing with the best in the world, against the best in the world and even so I stand out so that is when I started to think I could win a Ballon d'Or for example. I knew it was possible from the age of 16, 17..."
Ronaldo has scored 434 goals in 425 games since moving to Madrid in 2009 and helping the club to 15 major trophies, including three of the last four Champions Leagues. He also served as captain when Portugal won Euro 2016.
Asked if he had any dreams left to accomplish, he said: "I honestly don't. All that I dreamed of I have achieved in football. I always had as an aim to be a professional footballer and play for Portugal's national team.
"At that point, there were some players that stood out in the national team like Rui Costa, Fernando Couto and Figo. I looked up to them and as my aim I want to play with them.
"I think I've gotten many beautiful things that I no longer have any more dreams to fulfill. If you asked me if I wanted to win again, of course, I would love to win for example the World Cup, it's obvious. But if my career was to end, I would be very proud, happy. ... I never thought my career would be so beautiful."
Ronaldo said the key to his success is that he has not put pressure on himself.
"You have to let things happen naturally and everything in my life happened like this," he added. "It's worse if you put yourself under additional pressure. If you become too obsessed with something you don't accomplish your goals, not just in your professional life but in your personal life as well. You have to let things happen naturally and then your mind is relaxed. Things happen when God wants them to."
Ronaldo admitted he has not been able to win the hearts of some fans, but said: "There are many people that like me and others that don't. I always hold onto the people that like me, that support me and that are there for me.
"You have to like yourself. You need to have self-esteem, value yourself. I can't say I'm Prince Charming. ... I look at the mirror and like to look at myself. Of course you need to have self-esteem."
Ronaldo will captain Portugal in this summer's World Cup as the defending European champions were drawn with 2010 World Cup winners Spain, Morocco and Iran in Group B.
"We are not favourites," Ronaldo said. "We have to be humble and honest and understand that there are teams that have more name than us. It's the case of Brazil, Spain, Germany and Argentina. But in football everything is possible. We will try to progress past the group stages.
"We have a difficult first game against Spain, who are candidate to win the World Cup. We need to go step by step, go past the group stages and then we shall see. That is our main aim."
The father of four said he tries to switch off from football as much as possible.
"When I'm at home, in my home, I control my life," Ronaldo said. "I watch what I want, I do what I want and try to educate the way I want. When I'm at home I don't watch football. It's very unlikely, unless it's when a friend's club is playing or there's a big game like a derby.
"I like to watch movies, series. I also like to watch documentaries because you learn a lot. I like to watch music concerts. I like to travel, for example to go to Paris, to London, Portugal for the weekend."
Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.