Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has claimed that “I need the enemy” as they provide him with the fuel to step up his game.
The No 7 has been a divisive figure throughout his career, despite his haul of three Ballon d’Ors and extraordinary goalscoring heroics, with critics accusing him of selfishness on the pitch and vanity off it, but he insists their words only serve to inspire him.
“I am not the humblest person in the world, I admit that. I am not fake. But I like to learn,” he told the Times.
“I don’t mind people hating me, because it pushes me. When I go to play away they are always against me, but it’s good.
“You have to see the good things from the haters. I need the enemy. It is part of the business.
“They start screaming when I touch the ball. It had started already when I was 18 or 19. It is not a problem for me. It is a motivation.
“[On Sir Alex Ferguson’s role in the death of his father], when my daddy was dying, he was in a hospital in London, and it was not good.
“I said to [Sir Alex] Ferguson, ‘Coach, I want to go’. It was a crucial moment of the season.
“But Ferguson said: ‘Football doesn't mean anything compared to your dad. If you want to go, go’. I will always appreciate that.”