Cristiano Ronaldo 'lives a lonely life' says producer of new documentary

November 11, 2015, 2:11pm

By BBC Beat. Photo: Reuters

The producer of a new documentary looking into the life of Cristiano Ronaldo says the footballer leads a lonely life. James Gay-Rees was also behind the award-winning film Senna, about the Brazilian Formula 1 driver.

"He's got a very small group of friends and he surrounds himself with his family," James said. "I think the level of sacrifice required to operate at that level is beyond most of our understanding."

The documentary team followed Real Madrid and Portugal player Ronaldo around for a year and James says the thing that surprised him most was how the star deals with his stardom.

"It requires a huge amount of dedication and sacrifice," he said. "He has an idea, he wants a legacy, he wants to go down as one of the greatest players of all time.

It's a pretty brutal, lonely lifestyle.

"I think we all imagined that he just swans around making a lot of money and being Cristiano Ronaldo, but there's a lot of sacrifice [that goes] into that in order to make that happen."

James told Newsbeat that Ronaldo had watched the documentary a number of times, and only had "a few comments" about the end result, but says he's really pleased with it. He also says the star's "arrogance" is misinterpreted.

"I think one of the most surprising things is that it's not easy being a global superstar. It's a bit of a nightmare. I mean, his life is just so disciplined, it's so regimented. He trains so hard, he's so driven it's unreal. And the great thing about the movie, I think, is that it goes some way to explaining why he is so driven."

James was also part of the team that made the recent documentary about Amy Winehouse's life, called Amy.

"He's probably one of the most famous people in the world, he's an amazing footballer. People think they know him, but they don't really have a clue. It was a great opportunity to spend a year with somebody that brilliant and that famous and really get to the hub of what makes them tick."