Cristiano Ronaldo has been an excellent start to his second stint at Manchester United, scoring six goals in eight appearances, including late winners against Villarreal, Atalanta, but has faced criticism for not doing more defensively for the team.
Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Sunday afternoon’s game against Liverpool, Ronaldo has dismissed this criticism as jealousy from others and won’t have any sleepless nights over other people’s opinion of him.
I know when the team needs my help defensively. But my role in the club is to win, help the team to win and to score goals – [the defensive side] is part of my job. The people who don’t want to see that is because they don’t like me but to be honest I’m 36, I win everything so am I going to be worried about the people who say bad things about me? I sleep good at night. I go to my bed with my conscience very good. Keep going with that because I will still close mouths and win things.
Criticism is always part of the business. I’m not worried about that. And I see it as a good thing to be honest. If they worry about me or they speak about me, it’s because they know my potential and value in football still. So it’s good. I’ll give you an example: if you’re in a school and you’re the best student, you ask the worst student if he likes the best, they’ll say they don’t like him.
I think the main word is that I’m still happy and enjoying football. It doesn’t matter how many things I won in my career. I win everything but I’m still motivated. I’m in a new chapter of my life, even with my age, and this is why I am here – to try to win and I think Manchester needs to be at this level of winning and thinking to win big things so I’m here to help.
Ronaldo has repeatedly insisted that he re-joined United because he wants to win things. He’s not here to take it easy. After our 1-1 draw with Everton a few weeks ago, Ronaldo stormed down the tunnel at the final whistle, but our no.7 insists that is purely evidence of his desperation to win. During his first night at the club, instead of singing the customary song, he gave an impassioned speech instead.
I said what I felt in that moment: that I’m here to win things. Manchester United is a sign [of] winning things and I’m not here for holidays. I said to them I see huge potential in this team; very young players, players with potential, and I’m here to win and to help the team to build new stuff. I didn’t sing because I told them that I sang a few years ago! But it was good. The boys, they understand me, it was a good speech and I was happy that night.
I don’t like to lose. Draw? Draw – but for me, to draw against Everton – who have my whole respect – at home is like a loss. Maybe I’m thinking wrong, but this is the way I motivate myself and win stuff during my career and I play for the most important clubs in the world.
So, as I said, criticism will always exist here. I’m not hiding from that and, to be honest, I really don’t care because I know football is like that. My reactions are what I feel at that moment. Most of the time when I talk it’s very, very positive but sometimes, depending on the game, maybe you say things that you don’t agree or whatever but it’s me. Everyone knows me. I’ve always been like that; I’m not going to change now with my age. I will always give 100 per cent for this club and my reactions is part of what I am. I don’t want to hurt anybody. I know there will be eyes on me because of what I am, what I achieve, what I win. They don’t want to give me credit for the good things; they’re always going to find the bad things but for me it’s not a problem. Life’s a constant lesson and I still learn with my mistakes, trying to improve the next game.