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10 December 2023

Ronaldo criticised after post-goal sulk

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (L) signs his autograph during his visit to the Autism centre in Dubai. (REUTERS)

By Reuters

Cristiano Ronaldo was the target of some unusually harsh criticism from the pro-Real Madrid sports media on Sunday after he reacted to whistling and grumbling from a section of the home fans at the Bernabeu by refusing to celebrate his goal. 

The Portuguese, the world's most expensive player who earns around 10 million euros ($12.7 million) a season, netted Real's fifth in Saturday's 5-1 drubbing of Granada, his 21st La Liga strike of the campaign. 

However, there appears to be a perception among some fans that he can be too selfish and he reacted to their complaints, which were also audible in last month's 3-1 defeat to Barcelona, by declining to celebrate with his team mates and walking back to the Real half with his head bowed. 

"Since the game against Barca, a significant section of the stadium has been complaining about Ronaldo's performances and he doesn't like it," sports daily Marca wrote on Sunday. 

"But a goal is a collective achievement, the ultimate expression of a job well done by the team," the paper added. 

"If Cristiano doesn't like the way the fans are expressing themselves, the worst thing he can do is show it in the celebration of a goal. 

"Above and beyond the individual scorer, it's a Real Madrid goal. By the whole team." 

Writing in Marca's Madrid-based rival As, Antonio Romero noted that Ronaldo's patchy performances of late have meant he is being overshadowed by Real's in-form France striker Karim Benzema, who scored twice on Saturday and netted the winner in last week's comeback victory against Malaga in the King's Cup. 

Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain, who scored Real's third against Granada, was also stealing some of Ronaldo's limelight and developing a fine partnership with Benzema, Romero added. 

"The two together have some impressive statistics and are learning to understand each other better all the time. 

"That means Cristiano will have to get used to sharing the responsibilities in attack for the good of the team. And do it with a smile." 

Assistant coach Aitor Karanka, standing in for Jose Mourinho at Saturday's post-match news conference, said Ronaldo had been "angry with himself because things weren't coming off well for him." 

The Portuguese's team mate Sergio Ramos, one of the club captains, added: "That's just the way Ronaldo is. We are happy with him."