Cristiano likes booingMarch 7, 2007
If you thought booing Cristiano Ronaldo might put him off, you may wish to think again. The Manchester United winger says: “It’s better when people boo,” because it makes him more determined.
“If people boo me it’s because I am dangerous and I am doing something good,” he said in an interview with CNN. “It’s not a problem, but they always do this. Maybe it’s not good, but the people do what they want. For me it’s not a problem – I keep my concentration and try to do good things to help my team.”
Despite a turbulent World Cup last summer, in which the Portugal player was the subject of repeated accusations of diving and was vilified for his part in Wayne Rooney’s sending-off against England, Ronaldo has been in scintillating form for United this season.
His 16 goals in 26 league games have helped them to the top of the Premiership, a position he is loath to relinquish.
“Both [the Champions League and the league] are important, but the Premier League is the road the heroes walk,” he said. “It’s the most important, in my opinion. Of course the Champions League is great – great to win, but if it’s not possible to win both; my priority is the Premier League.”
Ronaldo’s form has contrasted sharply with that of Rooney. Where Ronaldo has been brilliant Rooney has often been indifferent. The latter has huffed and puffed to his 10 goals in 26 league matches and looks less assured and less cocky than the strutting teenager of 2004.
Asked whether the incident last July in Gelsenkirchen affected the pair’s relationship, Ronaldo replied: “No. I remember after the game ended against England I spoke with Wayne off the pitch,” Ronaldo said.
“I said ‘well done, you have a great team’. He is my friend, he always is my friend. Of course, it’s always in the papers. But I don’t care. For me it’s not a problem.”
Neither is United’s title challenge. After being left behind by Chelsea for the past two years, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side are nine points ahead of the west Londoners, who have a game in hand, and are excellently placed to reclaim the title.
“The team is more mature and we play very well,” Ronaldo said. “The team is more compact, the spirit is better and the result speaks for itself. We don’t lose many home games. And this is very important.”
Credit for the turnaround, Ronaldo says, is largely due to the manager – “a very, very, good coach” – who despite all the tension and pressure remains “funny” and a “good man”.
Ferguson is also responsible for turning Ronaldo into one of the Premiership’s most lethal forwards. Having signed the 22-year-old to replace David Beckham in the summer of 2003, Ronaldo struggled at first to turn his dribbles and flicks into goals.
“If you want to be better, you need to practise, you need to train hard,” the former Sporting Lisbon player said. “This is what I do. In training and in games and I think if you want to be the best, you need to practise always.”
Withstanding criticism in his early days at United has put Ronaldo in good stead for the barrage of anger reserved for him this season. But “this is normal”, especially because the “money is good”. But Ronaldo is not thinking about how big his wages are, just winning the Premier League.
He added: “The past one year, two years, three, I think my motivation is not the money. My motivation is to be part of football history. This is what I think, this is what I try to do, training hard, play well, learn with my colleagues, win trophies. This is the most important for me.” If United do win the league this season, it will be due in considerable part to the Portuguese winger.
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