Sheffield Wednesday Football Club’s star player Jose Vitor Moreira Semedo recently launched his maiden book called ‘Win the Day.’ The book is foreworded by none other than Cristiano Ronaldo, who is Semedo’s childhood friend.
Semedo, in association with sports psychologist Sam Kotadia, released his maiden foray into the literary world at the weekend and Ronaldo is clearly delighted to support his lifelong friend. The Real Madrid icon has penned the foreword for ‘Win The Day’ which charts the career of one of the most popular players to don the blue and white of Sheffield Wednesday in recent history.
Semedo opens up on a host of issues including his new book and good friend Cristiano Ronaldo. Here is the excerpt from the interview of Jose Semedo with Taruka Srivastava.
What has been your motivation to excel in an English Club Football like Sheffield Wednesday Football Club?
The motivation is that I always had a dream to play in England. I have played in Portugal, Italy but this country is like a proper football country. It is marvelous to play in this country. The attendance of fans motivates you even more and makes you happy to do what you love.
The schedule encourages you to train every day. The mind discipline which I have and I keep working on every single day because every day brings a new challenge, a new setback with it and my mental discipline helps to treat each day as if it’s the last.
Tell us something about the Semedo Day.
It was the most important event of my life. I won’t remember the promotions to the leagues and winning championships is important to me but still Semedo Day is the one I will never forget. I never expected it to happen. It was incredible to see so many faces like me. It was unbelievable.
I will never be able to pay back to my fans for this gesture. I love this city. I can never see myself wearing colors other than blue and white.
What is the book all about?
Well, it is about courage and the warrior spirit which all of us have inside us irrespective of our professions. I want to inspire the younger generation and we will have more footballers living this way. I have been working with Sports Psychologist Sam Kotadia and realized the huge role that mental toughness plays in a person’s life.
It doesn’t have to be just a footballer but anyone. Many concentrate on their body and lifestyles but ignore the mental aspects. I am trying to reinforce the power of mental training through this book for all.
Is the book only for sportsperson or for everyone?
This book is not only for football neither only about football. My aim through this book is to get the message across that anyone can win and be their best. I am trying to help as much people as I can by sharing my struggles with them. I believe that in today’s chaotic world, the more mind discipline you have; the better you can be in every way.
Is it a biography?
Kind of. The main idea behind this book was to give back as much as I can to the fans who gave me so much love. Apart from being football fans they are all normal people. They only know me as a football player and see me on the pitch on Saturdays so I want to open my heart to them.
I am a normal person too but I believe I have been fortunate to have the gift of football which makes me unique. However when I retire, I will be normal like them. I want to tell all that everyone is special. Everyone is capable and can prepare themselves to win. We all are born with some or the other talent. We just have to work hard.
Your book is forwarded by Cristiano Ronaldo. Did he help you writing it?
Well, he thought it was a good idea for me to write this book as he believed my story would really inspire young kids. He said, “There are less people born with my talent and more people like you.” And that is the reality.
What was the best thing Ronaldo said to you?
One thing which I will always remember him saying to me is: “You were the least talented in our group but only me and you made it and became professional footballers. The way you are, is the reason you have come this far.”
What is it like to have a friend like Ronaldo over the years?
He is fantastic. I don’t see him the way the world does. I see him like a brother, very close. I suffer for him when he loses and I am happy for him when he wins. We share a very close bond and he is very important in my life. I grew up in a very poor and difficult area where it was very difficult to be a good person. When I moved to Sporting Lisbon, I and Ronaldo became very close to each other.
I remember I didn’t have a good year in the club and the club wanted to release me. I told Ronaldo that we will see each other outside the club but Ronaldo was like “No, I will never see you again.” We were just 13 years old and Ronaldo told the club management not to let me go.
He asked them to put an extra bed in his room for me and asked me to share his cupboard to keep my clothes. The club accepted his request. His one act of kindness changed my life. Or else I would have gone back and never succeeded because all my friends from that time are either dead or in jail.
Any childhood memory with Ronaldo you would like to share.
Ronaldo had come in at young age of 12 at Sporting Lisbon. I remember we had 2 big shopping centers in Lisbon and Ronaldo was afraid as he had never seen so many people in one place. He always used to say that he was in another world. For me it was normal but it was always hilarious to see his face. Ronaldo was afraid of trams too because if he didn’t get in quick, the door will catch him he thought.
He started getting famous very quickly even in school. All the girls used to like Ronaldo and therefore all the boys would hate him and want to smash him. We would go and save him and fight for him sometimes. Because of this he changed a lot of schools and by the time he was 16, he got a private tutor. Also when we were 11, we both were quite skinny.
We would sneak in to the gym as we were not allowed and when security guy did the rounds, we would hide behind the machines. That was one thing about us. We always completed the tasks we planned to do. Sometimes we had to push ourselves to get things done and this is what has made us successful in life.