Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo believes no one sets out to hurt him

06 March 2009 08:27
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes that Ronaldo has become the focus of defenders' attentions through a combination of his perceived arrogance and his enduring class as a player, though Ronaldo himself believes it usually stays on the right side of fair.

Ronaldo was the victim of a scything foul at the hands of former United player Alan Smith and then hit by the flailing arm of Steven Taylor during United's victory at Newcastle this week.

'On the pitch I'm a target for defenders, so it's difficult to avoid certain things,' said Ronaldo.

'But I don't believe people just want to do something wrong on purpose. In my experience, the game is not carried out that way. I've never had any serious problems.

'I do remember when a goalkeeper said that the only way to stop United is to target Ronaldo – I went on to score two past him.

'But I don't agree when people say that to stop United, you only need to stop Cristiano. I don't like it when people say that.'

Ronaldo's manager Sir Alex Ferguson felt compelled this week to defend his player, insisting referees had it in for him due to his celebrated status as one of the world's best players.

The Portuguese is officially the most fouled player in the Premier League this season, though twice in recent weeks he has found himself in the referee's notebook for diving.

In the Carling Cup final he received a caution when replays suggested that Ledley King had in fact tripped him.

However, Ferguson maintains that Ronaldo is still maturing and the player himself agrees that life in England has forced him to develop as a player and a man after teething problems when he joined United as a callow teenager.

'They were the worst moments of my career, when I left my family,' Ronaldo told the Mirror newspaper

. 'It was a very, very difficult part of my life because I'd always had a lot of back-up from my mother, father and my family.

'To go to a different place, different football, different country was very complicated. We cried every week but, in that respect, I grew a lot as a person and as a player, and that was very important to me.

'For young players the conditions are difficult. They have to work hard and fight for what they want to be in the future. In any other profession, it's the same. You cannot stop believing in yourself.

'I started to play in Madeira in the street. The kids there still love to play football and all would love to be professional footballers one day. What they have to do is believe in themselves. If someone catches the opportunities, they will have a great life.'

Ronaldo has failed to touch the incredible heights of last season's form this term, though has still contributed enormously to a United side that is still in contention for a clean sweep of five major honours.

'I don't like to relax,' said Ronaldo. 'I have to continue winning awards and trophies because I'm still young. I have a big path ahead of me and I want to stay in this important position, so I have to continue playing like I'm playing.

'I feel I'm at a club that gives me a guarantee to win titles and trophies. That makes me very happy. When we play for the Premier League or whatever, we know that we can win something.

'The Premier League, the Champions League, the FA Cup and the Carling Cup are all important, because if we win them it improves our confidence.

'We're doing well in these competitions and we want to win them all. It would be good. Last year we did the Double and this year we have opportunities to win them all. We have to continue working as we have been, because we're on a good path.

"To already be in the history of United is an enormous privilege and makes me very happy. It's a privilege to work with a group of young and old United players.

'It's spectacular. This group has a very nice atmosphere. Everybody treats me very well and it's a privilege to play with these players.'


Source: Telegraph