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Cristiano Ronaldo says he 'needs his haters'

Ronaldo admits rivalry with fellow Ballon d'Or nominee Lionel Messi has also had considerable influence on his performance.

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 23: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF reacts as he fail to score during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Athletic Club de Bilbao at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on October 23, 2016 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
A hapless Cristiano Ronaldo as he failed to score yet again in La Liga

The tide of public opinion in select parts of Madrid may have turned against him, but Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo believes that negativity and criticism only make him stronger and that he ‘needs his haters’. As recently as last weekend, the Portuguese forward was booed by sections of his own fans at the Santiago Bernabeu during their La Liga match against Athletic Bilbao which they won 2-1.

The Real Madrid superstar has been unable to find the back of the net in his last four games at the Bernabeu and Madrid fans seem to be getting restless. The Euro winner missed out on the opening few games of the season due to a knee injury and has looked far from his best since he rejoined the side. The last time he had such a difficult start to a campaign, it was 2009 and Ronaldo had just signed for Real Madrid. 

However, jeering supporters and detractors don’t faze Ronaldo at all according to an interview he gave to Coach Magazine.

"You have to use negative people and experiences to motivate you," claimed Ronaldo. "I actually need my haters, they have helped me achieve all I have achieved." It’ not just his haters that have egged him on to greatness. When he was younger, he says he looked at the likes of Luis Figo and Rui Costa and wanted to achieve the same kind of fame and greatness.

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 23: Gareth Bale (L) and Cristiano Ronaldo (R) of Real Madrid CF react during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Athletic Club de Bilbao at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on October 23, 2016 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Cristiano Ronaldo (right) had a frustrating night against Athletic Bilbao last weekend

Although his compatriots were never his role model per say. The Real Madrid superstar has been his own biggest influence and motivator. 

"But my biggest inspiration has always been myself; nobody puts bigger demands on me than me. I said I admired Figo and Rui Costa, but I never wanted to emulate anybody – I have just always focused on being the best me I can. I have been the biggest influence on my own career."

In the same interview, he also admitted that his rivalry with fellow Ballon d'Or nominee Lionel Messi has also had considerable influence on his performance as he feels the need to do his utmost every time he is on the pitch but feels no animosity towards the Argentine. 

“There is a big mutual respect between myself and Lionel Messi. The media like to make out like we have this big rivalry, but we don’t. It is not like we are good friends, but there is a mutual respect on both sides.”

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