Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo loves to be hated

05 February 2009 08:50
The World Player of the Year landed a host of individual honours to go along with the Premier League and Champions League success he enjoyed with United last season.

Lauded at Old Trafford, the 24-year-old is often targeted by opposition supporters but the Portuguese has learned how to turn the hostility to his own advantage and be inspired rather than intimidated by the crowd.

'It's normal for me now,' said Ronaldo. 'If it doesn't happen I'm thinking, 'Why aren't they booing me?

'It's part of football. Maybe they think if they boo, I'll lose my concentration. But it doesn't happen. I like it.'

It is not just in the stands that Ronaldo is singled out for special attention, on the pitch too his notoriety and value to his team means he often comes in for rough treatment.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson criticised the treatment that Ronaldo receives and the lack of protection from referees earlier this season – and praised Ronaldo's strength for ignoring the worst of the attention.

Ronaldo, though, is sympathetic to the difficulty of the referee's job after getting a taste for it himself during training with United.

'The referees have a hard job,' he said. 'When I've been injured I've been given the opportunity to be a referee in training. The lads will say, 'Come on, you are the ref in this game'. It's very hard.

'I respect the referees, but sometimes I don't agree with what happens. If you want to have a good league and quick football, you have to protect the skilful players.

'They are the ones that put on a show and that's what the fans want. But there are some very good referees in the Premier League.'

Source: Telegraph