Cristiano Ronaldo has fired back at those that have criticised his defensive work-rate at Manchester United, and claimed the flak he receives is only because of his superstar status.
Ronaldo has done the job he was brought in to do since returning to Old Trafford. The Portuguese icon has bagged six goals in eight matches for Manchester United across all competitions. However, positive results on the field have still been hard to come by.
Some – such as Jamie Carragher – have suggested Ronaldo’s lack of defensive effort is hampering the team dynamic.
Indeed, combined with Bruno Fernandes and the likes of Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood, United are often found only defending with six outfield players as their front four labours to get back.
However, speaking to Sky Sports (via the Daily Mail), Ronaldo has fired back at the critics.
“I know when the team needs my help defensively,” said Ronaldo. “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.”
Ronaldo went on to claim he understands criticism is “always part of the business”. However, he revealed he believes he is targeted by the dissenting voices because of his “potential and value” to football in general.
Ronaldo cites schoolyard example
“Criticism is always part of the business,” he continued. “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.
“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.”