André Villas Boas: On Ronaldo, Rio 2016 and the Laureus Awards

March 7, 2014
André Villas-Boas is one of the most recognisable names in world football and as a manager is a Europa League and Primeira Liga winner. He is also a dedicated supporter of the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
Ahead of the Laureus World Sports Awards in Kuala Lumpur on March 26, asked him his opinion on the nominees and the footballer who might become the first to win the coveted Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award this year.
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Is Ronaldo now the No 1 footballer in the world?
André Villas-Boas: Well obviously Ronaldo had an exceptional 2013 year, beating all of his previous individual records. What I say is nothing new regarding both Cristiano and Messi, both born in the same generation and both extremely talented players.  Marcel Desailly raised the point that sometimes if we imagine Pele and Maradona had been brought up in the same generation you would have had the same kind of media saga that surrounds both of these extremely talented players. I think Ronaldo had an amazing year.  He deserves to be nominated for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year and for all the Portuguese, I hope he can win.  He's an extremely good ambassador for the country and deserves it for what he did in 2013.
It has been said that to become one of the truly great players like Maradona or Pele, Ronaldo needs to show his qualities in a major tournament?
I'm not sure if that is right. Argentina [with Messi] has not particularly excelled.  It’s a very difficult question to answer.  I hope – and I'm sure - that Ronaldo will be the inspiration for the country.  But I don't agree 100 per cent that he has to do extremely well to be considered.  We have seen great players throughout history that haven't won World Cups, but they are still reference for us.
Which team do you think will win the Champions League this season?
I think Bayern have the experience from last year.  It will be great to see back?to?back Champions League winners for the first time and I'm not sure if it can happen, but Bayern certainly played the football and have the strength and depth to be able to go all the way. 
Who do you think is going to win the World Cup?
I think Brazil have the upper hand, as much as I would like for my country [Portugal] to do well.  I think the power of the Brazil demonstration in the Confederations Cup shows a country united with their national team and how strongly it is for those players.  For Brazilians, that emotional power is magnetic and I guess for me, they will be in the final and favourites to win the tournament.
What is your role with the Laureus Foundation?
As an Ambassador, my role is to promote the Laureus projects, and I do it. I wanted to get involved as much as I can into charity works and Laureus has opened that possibility for me.  Particularly, through sport, showing the good values of sport and making sure that it promotes good social behaviours, good human values. It is very rewarding. I was very fortunate in my upbringing and most of these kids struggle with their upbringing with social problems, with crime, with obesity; and you will learn lessons from them, as well, because basically what they are trying to do is get on a good route.  And if in some way we can be an inspiration for them, I try to put myself forward to do so with Laureus.
Who do you think is the favourite to win the Laureus Awards?
Ronaldo for obvious reasons.  I have to be a little bit biased on that one.  I really like the comeback from the Oracle team to bring back the America's Cup. Football?wise, Bayern Munich has done extremely well last season.  They will be up there for Team of the Year. 

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