What was your earliest ambition?
Like every Brazilian child, I always wanted to be a footballer.
Public school or state school? University or straight into work?
Always state schools. I left school early because of football but I plan to go back to studying soon.
Who was or still is your mentor?
My father, Nélio.
How physically fit are you?
When I stopped playing, I gave up exercising and put on some weight. But now, after three months of working out, I feel great. Just a bit more and I’ll be back on the pitch again [he laughs].
Ambition or talent: which matters more to success?
I think it’s a combination of the two. But to reach success, you need to do a lot of work.
Have you ever taken an IQ test?
How politically committed are you?
I’m only a little interested in politics. But I’m always on top of the news, both in Brazil and abroad.
Do you consider your carbon footprint?
I’ve been thinking about this more now that I’m partner of 9ine. We all need to be more aware of this.
Do you have more than one home?
Yes, because of all my travelling. I have one in São Paulo and another in Rio de Janeiro. In Europe, I have an apartment in Madrid and another in Paris.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
Nothing. I would just like Brazil to be a fairer country.
I was always a simple guy. I was never one for extravagances. But, if I had to say something, it would be having dinner at La Tour d’Argent in Paris.
In what place are you happiest?
I was born in Rio de Janeiro; São Paulo is the city I made my own; and I always feel good in Madrid. It’s hard to choose.
What ambitions do you still have?
I would like to be some kind of leader in Brazilian football; to work to develop sport in the country.
What drives you on?
The 2002 World Cup title in Japan.
What has been your greatest disappointment?
The 1998 World Cup defeat.
If your 20-year-old self could see you now, what would he think?
I think he would be proud.
If you lost everything tomorrow, what would you do?
I would rebuild everything.
If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?
Definitely 10. I am very happy about everything that I have done so far.