Every once in a while, maybe in some sort of timing related to other events, Cristiano Ronaldo has to let some steam off his chest and let everyone know just how fine thing are with him and Real Madrid. This time, it was about his public persona (what else) and the split in the Real Madrid dressing room.
For someone who keeps saying he doesn’t mind what people think about him, Ronaldo seems to spend quite a lot of time explaining that he’s just a regular guy. He is right about the two sides to the criticism. Sometimes it’s actually hard to find a flaw in his game – scoring 24 goals in 23 matches this season (La Liga), he’s been at his best on almost every performance. It’s usually the players around him that haven’t been consistent.
Criticism is part of the business, you have to learn to live with it. But what really hurts me is when I get criticized for things that happen off the football pitch. I don’t get bothered as much when it’s about my game and my ability, because I’m my own harshest critic.
Against Manchester United, it wasn’t his finest, despite the goal. Ronaldo was simply erased off the pitch by Phil Jones, hardly touching the ball for an entire half. For a club like Real Madrid to base its attacking ability only on one player – that’s a bad formula for success. Last season’s title, and the best matches Real have had this season, were when Ronaldo wasn’t forced to try and win it on his own, and was actually making himself more useful by feeding others while drawing most of the attention.
At times, my career has forced to build up walls between me and other people, but I haven’t changed, I’m the same as I’ve always been. People can see me as anything they want, but I’m just trying to stay the same I’ve always been.
I have a lot of friends in the Real Madrid dressing room, not just the Portuguese players. At the beginning, when I just arrived, I was spending more time with people like Pepe or Kaka, obviously, because it was easier to connect through language, but it wouldn’t be true to say we’ve built a separate clan of Portuguese players.
It’s a losing battle against the media and public perception, always as. Maybe it’s about being considered the inferior in the whole Messi – Ronaldo issue, as of now, although only one loss to Barcelona against Milan has everyone leaving the bandwagon. Maybe, once Mourinho is gone from Real Madrid (and Ronaldo actually stays, despite certain rumors), the negative assumption about how things work at Real Madrid will take a turn for the better.