He has his eyes on Ronaldo
Sat, Dec 27, 2008
The New Paper

By Ashikin Hashim

YOU could say that shutterbug Jorge Monteiro has a highly coveted job in football right now.

After all, the 37-year-old is the official photographer to current world football icon - Cristiano Ronaldo.

That title means that Monteiro has to be on the ball and ready to snap the Portuguese player at official functions.

And he even accompanies Ronaldo when he goes on charity trips and holidays overseas.

It's a sweet job - and Monteiro knows it.

'It has been a fantastic experience. I'm lucky to be a part of some of the best moments in Cristiano's life. Not everyone gets to shoot (for) the best player in the world,' he told The New Paper, in Portuguese.

Previously, Monteiro was working as a photojournalist with the national Portuguese sports newspaper, O Jogo.

Then three years ago, Ronaldo's advisor, Jorge Mendes, invited Monteiro to officially photograph his players.

This list includes Ricardo Quaresma, Nuno Gomes and Simao Sabrosa, among others.

'Jorge, Ronaldo and I are good friends. We're like normal people, we have our moments of leisure too.'

Indeed, Monteiro has spent countless nights at Ronaldo's bachelor pad in Cheshire - photographing or simply relaxing with the Man United winger.

'Cristiano's biggest habit since I started accompanying him is resting. We can be chatting, watching a movie or playing a game but if it gets close to 11pm, he will go up to his room,' Monteiro said.

'We will only see each other the next day for breakfast. He makes it a point to sleep eight to nine hours everyday.'

Monteiro has spent so much time around the 23-year-old player that he has established a close relationship with his family.

Impressive work

'I know Ronaldo's family very well. Everyone from the lovely Mrs. Dolores (Dona Dolares, Ronaldo's mother) to his brother-in-law, Jose Pereira, who is always with him,' he added.

Monteiro's impressive photography work can also be seen in Ronaldo's pictorial autobiography, 'Moments'.

And he was happy to share some of his own fondest memories spent with the young player.

'Two of the places I remember visiting with Ronaldo was Banda Aceh and Timor Leste (in 2005),' recalled Monteiro.

'I will never forget the moment when Cristiano walked down the back stairs of the football stadium in Timor. Thousands of people go there to watch sports and they were all waiting for him, and I captured a beautiful photograph.'

When he's not out photographing, the Vila Nova de Gaia native from Portugal enjoys cycling and fishing.

Monteiro also has a five-year-old son named Francisco who loves football and frequently plays the sport.

No prizes for guessing who is his favourite player, though.

'Francisco likes (Ricardo) Quaresma, Pepe and Anderson. But his favourite player is still Cristiano!' said Monteiro.

Of course, it helps that his father is a good friend of the winger.

Said Monteiro: 'Francisco has played football with Ronaldo. He also supports Manchester United.'

And although his son has already stated his allegiance to a team, Monteiro maintained that he doesn't have a favourite football club.

'It's hard to choose,' he admitted. 'It's probably the teams with the players I photograph.'

Well, at least one thing's certain for Monteiro.

Like Ronaldo, he is constantly looking out for the next perfect shot.

"This is great to keep overseas Singaporeans connected to home news and affairs"

"My favourite was "The Aftermath for Malaysia Election" - (in my opinion), this was a very well crafted world standard image, it is even suitable for a Time magazine cover!"
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