“Luís Castro: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Self-Discipline Exceeds Expectations, No Need for Additional Demands.”

Answer: They are two very close countries, but different. Here, in Saudi Arabia, there is a very, very great passion for football, shared by everyone. There is a lot of excitement because many great players have arrived, or when Cristiano Ronaldo chose to come to Saudi. We are talking about the player who has the most followers on social networks, so every step Cristiano takes is followed by millions and millions of people and the media as well. The league has a lot of visibility. There are good players, good fans in the stands, good coaches. And the press, furthermore, is very dedicated and interested.

Here, in Saudi Arabia, there is a very, very great passion for football. Everyone shares it

Q: You left a great project in Botafogo to come to Al Nassr…

A: I was in a historic club, a world-renowned club, where there are great fans, players from the Brazilian team and where we were having a great championship: we were first with many points ahead of the second. The team was ready to be champion. And I felt at that moment that in Brazil things were done, the building was solid, it was ready for the team to continue without me. Why not look for another challenge? Another team-building challenge or another challenge to meet new players, mixing them with local players… as had happened at Shakhtar with the Ukrainians and Brazilians. And there was the idea of ​​working with Cristiano Ronaldo too.

My departure from Botafogo? I felt at that moment that in Brazil things were done, the building was solid, I was ready for the team to continue without me

Q: It was arriving and succeeding. Won the Arab Champions Cup.

A: Yes, arriving in the city where you are going to work with a trophy under your arm… is fantastic. This is a great challenge. With very big objectives. And we want to win many things, we want to build many things.

Luís Castro, in an Al Nassr match.

Luís Castro, in an Al Nassr match. Al Nassr.

Q: Saudi Arabia is very clear that it wants to have one of the best leagues in the world. And he’s investing a lot of money in it…

A: It’s like that in football. It is natural that it has the same ambition as the best leagues in the world to be great. It’s a very simple equation, it doesn’t surprise me at all to say that Saudi Arabia wants to be great. They are signing big contracts with players, coaches… But investing money to be the best is a natural process, as in all sectors of society. If you want to have better health, you invest in medicine, if you want to have better education, you invest in education, if you want to have better technology, you invest in technology, if you want to have better housing, invest in the social housing network… So the Money is essential to develop human resources, to develop each and every sector of society. Well, the same in football.

Q: What do you think when people say that a footballer should not go to the national team because he plays in Saudi Arabia?

A: Well, something very good that is happening is that the players are reaching their national teams and are having high performance. Cristiano Ronaldo, Otávio, Laporte, Brozovic… If they are connecting with their teams and are performing at a high level, it is because they have maintained it in their championship. It is a very good fact to validate football in Saudi Arabia.

Q: And what do you think of Laporte?

A: He is a fantastic player. With the ball and without the ball. He has personality. Reading spaces, measuring the rival… the incredible vision he has. He is a guy who is always willing to work. On a sporting and human level, he is very professional. I only have good things to say about him.

Laporte is a fantastic player. With the ball and without the ball. He has personality. Reading spaces, measuring the rival…

Luís Castro, coach of Al Nassr

Luís Castro, on Al Nassr's bench with his staff.

Luís Castro, on Al Nassr’s bench with his staff. Al Nassr.

Q: I have to ask you about the Saudi footballer. The Saudi Pro League wants to grow the level of its team through the growth of the league. How have you seen the local footballer?

A: A very competitive type of player. This is a new challenge for them. It is a challenge because each team shares a locker room with quality players. In our case, Mané, Cristiano Ronaldo, Talisca, Telles, Fofana, Otávio… and to play they have to raise the level. It is a challenge for those who were, they must grow to reach the same level as others. Now… they have different rhythms of life. We cannot arrive and suddenly want them to adapt to us, we must also adapt to them. There has to be a mix and there has to be a lot of attention on our part to what the culture of the people in Saudi Arabia is. Things have to be adjusted so that they feel balanced and always ready to respond. I think the path you should take is to approach them and adapt to them. There is one thing that is clear to me: respect the culture, respect everyone, respect the human being… because it is yours since you were born, lived and live. And I also try to share a little of my culture, a little of my life. And if it is necessary to change our path a little, it is done.

Q: What is day-to-day life like with Cristiano Ronaldo?

A: It is the greatest example of global success in terms of rigor, work and discipline. An example for everyone. Do you think he needs me to demand it? No. There is no need to demand from Cristiano, he already does it himself. He gives us rigor, discipline, maximum demands, always wanting to win, wanting to shine before the world. We want to win titles. If we play two, win two; If we play three, win three… it will never be different with him.

Cristiano is the greatest example of global success in terms of rigor, work and discipline

Luís Castro, coach of Al Nassr

Luís Castro and Cristiano Ronaldo celebrate the Arab Champions Cup.

Luís Castro and Cristiano Ronaldo celebrate the Arab Champions Cup. Al Nassr.

Q: And the reality is that now Cristiano Ronaldo is experiencing one of his best moments on a physical and scoring level.

A: There are four dimensions of performance: Tactical, technical, physical and psychological. The one that is most important to me is the psychological one. The mental. The player may be technically good, physically he may be good… but if he is not mentally well he will not feel happy, he will not detect spaces, he will not see the game and he may not see the world that exists within a football field. So… Cristiano is going through a very happy moment, he feels that he is going through a good moment in his career, he feels that he is enjoying himself. I’m going to speak a little for him without having to, but I apologize in advance.

Cristiano is aware that he is living the last moments of his career, so there is nothing better than enjoying it. Nothing better than being happy… because the last thoughts in the last moments of a race are the ones that often stay with you until the end of your life. Ok, there will always be the Ballon d’Or, having been the best in the world, being the best scorer in the Champions League, the Euro Cup… All this will be with him forever, but in the last moments they remain in a special way. It gives me a lot to be the coach of a player who, despite his age, enjoys football, enjoys training, enjoys his teammates… he is a role model for his teammates.

Cristiano is going through a very happy moment, he feels that he is enjoying”

Q: There is a lot of talk about Cristiano’s objectives: do you see him reaching the 2026 World Cup?

A: Cristiano is a man of convictions, a man with objectives. Anything can happen. As I said, I see him very happy. Dedicated to his work. It strikes me that he knows all the paths: the path to the stadium, the path to training, the path to the field, the path to the goal, the path to being happy…

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