About three months ago I interviewed Ronaldo in London. He was on his way to China to play golf with Michael Phelps. He never told me about his plans to move in, but it seems he was in a High Street Kensington Hotel not only to show the British media Brazil is going to host a great World Cup in 2014 -- he won't leave his job in the organizing committee. There were just a couple of moments I could have suspected there was something different in his being in the UK.
"Thank God traffic here is better than in Sao Paulo," he said as he had his pictures taken. "People are really passionate about football here. English supporters know how to appreciate football and I like that." Last weekend Brazilian media started reporting on his plans to come to study marketing and work with a top agency here. He didn't seem to know the city very well, except for the main tourist attractions.
This is why I prepared a little advice guide for the man who scored the most goals in World Cup history so he can enjoy his Waterloo sunsets in a nice fashion.
10 - Bear In Mind YOU Are Ronaldo, That Portuguese Fellow Is Cristiano
The English love football, but they love THEIR football more than anything else. Whenever a Brazilian says your name here, locals think of a former Manchester United player. It is just the way they are. They would be loyal to you if you had played in the Premier League first. That is why you will have to spend sometime educating them. Don't get angry, they don't mean to be rude.
9 - Don't Frustrate People Saying England Will Never Win The World Cup
This is really important. Deep inside they all know that, but you don't need to shove it to their faces. Be courteous in conversations whenever this question comes -- and you will get a lot of that here, every foreigner does. Go for "you have very good players, of course you have a chance." Then change the subject as quickly as possible.
8 - Go Back To Brazil In Winter
Never have a doubt about that. London is great, but in winter it is grey, silent and sad. Be at home for summer. All Londoners do in that season is get drunk and watch soap operas we will never understand, even more dramatic than the Brazilian ones. In summer avoid beaches like Brighton. Just stay in central London: it is lovely then. And it also smells way better than Rio in those months.
7 - Avoid Brazilian Places
That comes without saying. If anyone ever suggests "let's go to Kilburn", say no. Whenever there is a gathering at the "Guanabara", reject: that is the meeting point for the whole community in London. If you get in there you might never come out (I wouldn't be surprised if there were some transvestites there, man. You had problems with those already). Some Brazilian players actually go to meet compatriots. You know enough people already. Go to Banglatown -- it is trendier and people from India and Bangladesh only care about cricket anyway.
6 - Be Friends With Prince Harry
That is your guy here. He knows the clubs and the people. Besides, he needs a marketing expert like you. He is great fun, but just in case don't let him or his friends take any pictures when you are together. Not in a million years. His brother is a bore, just be polite to him and to the old lady.
5 - Bring Parties To Your House
In London everything closes very early. At midnight you would still be thinking of going out in Rio or Sao Paulo. Londoners are back home at that time. Even on a Friday. Pubs start early, but they close early as well. Clubs are kind of gloomy after 2 am. So I recommend you chose a number of people and take them to your place. No matter where you are, always pretend you don't care how drunk people get here. It is just a cultural thing.
4 - Watch Football At Upton Park
As a man of football, you will miss the warm crowds. West Ham supporters seem to be the only ones in London to have a passionate South American style atmosphere in the stadium. No offence to other clubs, but singing about bubbles and cheering despite little chances of any trophy is more exciting to a Brazilian like you than those fans who gently clap every time their fancy team scores. You had that in Madrid already. Go with the Hammers and it will be more fun.
3 - Brazilian Barbecue Restaurants
If you are ever homesick you can have some proper meat at Preto, in Soho. There is also a chain restaurant named Rodizio Rico, it is a decent adaptation of a Brazilian all-you-can-eat. You'd better take more people with you, because you know you need someone to watch your weight now you are divorced. There is a fancier Argentinian meat restaurant named Gaucho -- more to your taste I would say. By the way, don't show too much interest for Argentina, especially to old people. You can talk about Gaucho and Lionel Messi, but avoid all the rest. They might get sensitive.
2 - Don't Go Bananas Because Of The Miniskirts
That is just the way London girls are. It doesn't mean they are horny, it doesn't mean they want you. Actually it probably doesn't mean they want me. But you get what I mean. People here think Brazilian women are bold because of their bikinis, but they have no idea women here dress much more boldly than any other every day. Peeking is fine, but don't stare. It is not polite.
1 - Always Say You Are Sorry, No Matter What
If anyone steps on your foot you should say you are sorry. And so should the person who did that. And anyone else who is around. London is hors concours in the sorrow championships. It is probably a bigger sport than football here. Once you learn how to practice this one they will love you so much they might even forget Cristiano was ever called Ronaldo around here.