Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema concedes “the hardest thing to accept in football is when criticism comes from your own fans.”
Benzema has come under fire for his struggles in front of goal this season, his poor form even fuelling a public dispute with former Barcelona attacker-turned-TV pundit Gary Lineker.
“Lack of goals? I score goals, but when there’s someone who scores 50 goals a season…” he continued to Telefoot.
“Before, a striker would score 25 goals and was considered a good striker, now… I like football and winning trophies. I’m having fun at the moment.
“My relationship with Ronaldo? Cristiano and I get along well. I like playing with him. He likes to play with his first touch.
“He’s more selfish than me, but that’s normal. It doesn’t bother me. At the end of the day, it’s good for the team.
“Pressure at Madrid? The most pressure is at Madrid, and it’s the hardest thing to cope with at Madrid. It’s all about how many newspapers you can sell, but I’m used to it.
“I’ve learned to stay calm with age. Return to Lyon? I did well for them, but I’m at Madrid now and there’s no place better.
“Winning the Ballon d’Or? It's difficult, although it’s always in my head. It pushes you to go very far, but I’m up for it at a time when there are two certain lads [Ronaldo and Messi]… We must recognise that they’re extra-terrestrials.
“Criticism? I must set an example on the pitch. Criticism, insults… it’s difficult, especially in Spain, where sometimes you don’t understand everything.
“It hurts a lot in France too, especially when it affects your family, but you must be professional and set an example for kids, teens, everyone.
“Football has an impact on you. It’s tough, but I can restrain myself. The hardest thing to accept is when the criticism comes from your own fans.
“That’s really difficult to accept. Normally, they’re there to spur you on.”