Cristiano Ronaldo says he does not mind being criticised as it only motivates him to improve even more.
Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo is often being accused of selfishness and arrogance, but he has made it clear that negative comments only help him get the best out of himself.
“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,” Ronaldo told The Times.
“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.
“I am not the humblest person in the world, I admit that. I am not fake.
“But in one way I am very humble. I like to learn, I want to learn from other sports, the best athletes. What are they doing? You can improve on this, on that. I think it is interesting. A person who is like that, they are humble – because they like to learn.”
Ronaldo left his family home in Madeira at the tender age of 12 to pursue his dream of becoming a professional at Sporting CP in Lisbon, but he has admitted that he nearly gave up at some stage.
“It was one of the worst days of my life. I cried every day. I can’t imagine letting my son, little Cristiano, go to another city at 12 years old,” he added. “I don’t blame my parents for letting me go, because they were trying to give me an opportunity. But it was tough. We had lived all together – my brothers and my parents – but now I was on my own.
“I very nearly didn’t make it. One day, I was in school and something happened in my mind. It was as if something snapped. I went to the club to speak to the director. I said, ‘Listen, I can’t deal with this any more. I am going to give up. I am going home. I don’t want to be here.’ ‘But you are only 12, Cristiano,’ they said. ‘You have huge potential. You can become a professional’.
“These people helped me to stay strong. My team-mates helped me, too. And my parents pushed me to stay: ‘You are just having a bad moment. Be strong.’ I went to bed that night and kept crying. But after a few days, it started to get better. I started to come to terms with it. But I will never forget that difficult time. I was ready to give up.”
Manchester United made me the player I am now
Oct 31, 2015 – 15:11
Cristiano Ronaldo has insisted his time at Manchester United played a huge role in his development.
The Portugal international joined United from Sporting CP in 2003 and matured into one of the best players in the world at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo, who eventually left United for Real Madrid in 2009, has now revealed that the guidance of players such as Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs helped him become the player he is now.
“Manchester was a huge education for me,” Ronaldo told The Times. “There were guys who always arrived for training one hour early. Scholes and Neville were incredible examples. Neville was the most professional player I saw. This is why these guys played in the top level for 10 years.
“People like Giggsy, too. I learnt from them. I would go to training early, too. I would do exercise, strength, abdominals, core: many things. That example from the older players, I took it.
“Sometimes, you try something different and you say, ‘Ooh, if I do that, then the ball is going to do this’. Everything was a lesson for me at that age. [Being at United] taught me to train hard all the time. To eat properly, sleep good, recovery sessions, everything. You have to dedicate yourself 100 per cent.”
Ronaldo worked with Alex Ferguson during his time at United and he has nothing but fond memories of his former manager.
“I learnt a lot from Sir Alex, too. One of the terms that I still remember today is ‘decision-making’.
“‘You are great, but you don’t have decision-making. Pass the f***ing ball.’ He always told me that. ‘Cristiano: pass the f***ing ball.’ I still have contact with him. He is a great guy, great coach, great human being.”