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As.com | 11/11/2012
"Cristiano will be the nine in Valencia." That was how José Mourinho settled the striker debate in the press conference prior to Madrid's game away to Levante. Mourinho knows what that means; Cristiano doesn't like playing as a pure number '9', so it's probable that the Portuguese will start in that position but later will move across the whole forward line as he pleases. As his whim and fancy dictates. The addition of Callejón will also give Mourinho another man to lend a hand in defence. The conclusion, then, is that Cristiano will play where he wants to and more than ever will have no defensive responsibility. But it's worth remembering his complaints about the position of pure striker.
In the last World Cup in South Africa, Cristiano expressed his chagrin with Queiroz for making him play as a nine in some matches, among them the knock-out against Spain. The Madrid player wanted his coach to use one of the forwards he brought to the tournament (Liedson, Hugo Almedia) but Queiroz wanted to pack out the midfield. Cristiano doesn't like to be a target between the centre-backs and live with his back to the goal. He prefers to play face-on, driving the ball to more forward positions (doing this at speed he's unstoppable) and breaking away with diagonal runs. With Paulo Bento, Cristiano didn't play as a striker in the European Championship and got better results... until the match against Spain.
With Madrid, the '7' has also complained. In the semi-final of the Champions League of 2010/11 (0-2, with the Pepe sending-off), he also played as a centre forward. This is what he said at the end of that game: "I don't like to play like this, but I have to adapt to what I'm asked to do..." He does have better memories of the position; in the Copa del Rey final of 2011 he scored the winning goal with an out-and-out striker's role. Although by the time he found the net, Adebayor had come on. His header was that of a goal poacher, but that's not what Cristiano wants to be. In Valencia, more than that, he'll be a free spirit.