One of football’s most colourful stars chats to Emirates Man
Who would you say is the most naturally talented player at this year’s Euros?
Of course me. What’s the next question?
Where do you rate yourself among the world’s best players?
I have always believed I am the best. Some players need awards that say they are the best, but to me that has never mattered. If you know then you know. I do not need or crave the praise of other people.
You haven’t not won the league you’re playing in since the ’00-’01 – all are great sides, but how much of that success do you put down to your influence?
My contribution to the teams I have played in has always been a big one, not just my goals, but my all round game. Of course though I have had some very talented teammates, and have played with some of the best players in the world.
You have a reputation for having a short temper. Have you tried to curb this passion, or do you think it would affect your game to do so?
Having passion is part of the game, but yes of course you mature as you get older and of course as you have a family. Helena (his partner) has been a big part of me maturing, and I owe so much to her.
How would you describe yourself as a player?
A player who can do things nobody else is capable of, a player who can score goals nobody else is capable of.
Greatest moment on the football pitch?
It is hard with all the league titles I have to pick just one, but I still hope that my greatest moment in football is ahead of me. I haven’t finished dreaming.
Is it frustrating to play for one of the less strong nations at the Euros, when you’re a player used to winning most games and tournaments you play a part in?
I don’t look at it like that at all. After the group stage it is a knock out tournament, and in a knock out tournament anything can happen. We have a tough group, so the first objective must be to progress out of it. If we can do that, then anything is possible.
Who do you see as favourites in your group?
I don’t pay so much attention to the favourites, but I am sure the journalists are all going to say Belgium. Italy are a good team, but also Ireland will be playing without pressure. To be honest I don’t care who the favourites are, I don’t care what two teams go through, as long as one of them is Sweden.
You’ve mentioned that this could be your last season at PSG, and your next club could be your last – how interested would you be in the Premier League, and if so, which clubs?
The Premier League is an important league with important clubs, and of course some very big players and coaches, but now is not the time to talk about such things. I will look at things in the summer.
Would you ever consider signing for a lesser club to see what success you could help them have
When you join a new team it has to be like a marriage, both parties must want it equally. Some clubs will have different aspirations, but to be part of a project at an early stage can be exciting.
Have you ever been approached to play in the Middle East – if so, where and which clubs? Is it something that you would seriously consider?
I will always have offers, and yes that is an area I have had offers from. Like I say in the summer I will sit down and think about these offers, and like I say – anything is possible.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Everything Jose [Mourinho] said to me I always listened to. My one regret is that I never got to play under him for longer. He is very direct, says what he wants, but I respect that. When he gives you advice, you know it is going to be something you will want to listen to.