Cristiano Ronaldo says he is “annoyed” that he is forced to prove that he is a good player every year and wants critics to leave him alone.
The Juventus and Portugal star has long been regarded as one of the best players the game has ever seen, having won five Ballons d’Or and as many Champions League titles.
After winning the Serie A title with Juve this season, the 34-year-old has now won league crowns in three different countries and is challenging for the Italian division’s top scorer award having scored 21 times in 29 appearances.
But the attacker continues to receive criticism in some circles because of his ongoing rivalry with Barcelona icon Lionel Messi and he finds the animosity towards him irritating.
“I will not deny that sometimes it annoys me and it tires because it seems that every year you must prove that you are very good,” he told El Pais .
“It’s hard. You have what you have to have that extra pressure of having to prove something to people, not just for you, also to the people around you. Your family, your mother, your son: ‘Cris, you have to win tomorrow’.
“That makes you more active. You always have to train, but there comes a time when you say: ‘Look, let me be’.”
He added: “I don’t think they believe I’m a robot, but they do see me as a person who can never have a problem, can never be sad, can never have a problem.
“People identify having no problems, success, with money. How can you be sad or have a downer if you have millions? You must understand that people do not think like you, have not lived certain moments, do not have a culture greater than what they are allowed.
“But I understand it. I know people are waiting with a shotgun for Cristiano to miss a penalty, or to fail in a crucial match. But it is part of life and I must be prepared. I’ve been prepared for many years now.”
Nevertheless, Ronaldo insists he is still enjoying his playing career, saying he hopes to keep surprising his critics.
“I see football as a mission: go to the field, win, make me better,” he said.
“Those moments when I went out on to the field thinking: ‘I’m going to dribble!’ Honestly, I don’t have those moments anymore.
“There is an additional pressure. People are always judging: ‘It’s over already. He’s 33, 34 or 35 years old, he should stop’. And you want to surprise people: here the bug follows.”