We spoke to the Madrid superstar about the biggest sporting event in the world and his toughest competition.
(Photo: Martin Rose/ Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2014)
What do you think of the World Cup group you have been drawn in?
I think there is no doubt that it is a very difficult group. Germany are among the favorites to win The World Cup and we know that both The USA and Ghana are also very good teams.
Does everybody expect Germany to win the group?
We have to acknowledge that Germany will be very difficult to beat, but at the same time we must have the belief that we can overcome them. It is a big dream of mine to win The World Cup and I believe this year Portugal can compete with the best.
How tough of an opponent will the U.S. be?
Many of the players now play in England – so that tells you already they have players of high quality. Also I think that The MLS has been improving – every season it gets a little bit stronger and it is constantly going in the right direction.
What do you know about the players from the USA? Is there any player you need to look out for?
They qualified as a team and I don’t like picking players out, but I have played with and against Tim Howard many times and he has been one of the most consistent goalkeepers in England for many years. He has the quality of making it a very frustrating day for attacking players when he is at his best.
How is the world's most expensive player Gareth Bale settling in at Real Madrid?
He had big pressure on him when he arrived, but the way he is playing now is incredible. He has quickly become part of the team and the club. He is a fantastic player who will be a big part in us winning many trophies.
You have played with some ridiculously talented players at Manchester United and Real Madrid - who is the best you have ever played with?
I have been fortunate enough to play with some amazing players, but there was something very special about Paul Scholes. The word I would use for him is “complete.”
You are one of the world's most well-paid sportsmen - can you remember what you spent your first paycheck on?
I can’t totally remember. We had very little money when I was growing up, but I always liked clothes and especially shoes. I am sure most of it went to that.
How is fatherhood?
It is the best gift you can be given. People can talk to you about how great it is being a parent, but until you wake up in the morning and you have this little person calling you Daddy it is impossible to understand just how special it is to be a father.
Do you think people have the perception that you are vain?
I think maybe they do – but I would not judge them for having that perception. Some people like me and some people don’t – I think you have to accept that in whatever you do for a living.
You are one of the most fashionable guys in soccer - but do you ever look back 10 years later and wonder, “What was I thinking?”
Of course! I look back at the photos of my early days at Manchester United where I had the spaghetti hair with the yellow tips and think “Why didn’t somebody tell me to change it!”
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