Former Real Madrid and Portugal star Fabio Coentrao has jumped to the defence of his old team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo in the wake of recent criticism.
Pundits and former players in England have been heavily critical of Ronaldo throughout the season and in the build up to his controversial departure from Manchester United this week. Ex-team-mates Wayne Rooney, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes are among the many big names to publicly criticised the 37-year-old. But Coentrao has hit back at the negative voices, saying they have no right to slam such an accomplished player.
“I don’t feel motivated to talk but I had to because I don’t like to hear what they say about Cristiano,” he said to Relevo. “There are ex-players who were nothing, they were sh*t, and they talk about Cristiano as if they were something [in football]. They don’t have to talk like that.
“Even if he’s not performing at his level, it’s pretty ugly. People start talking about him, saying he gets along badly with his team-mates and things get misinterpreted. It’s a horrible thing, I know how he is. I lived with him for many years and he doesn’t have to tell me how things are: I know. It’s impossible that Cristiano doesn’t get along with Bruno [Fernandes] or with one of his team-mates, [because he is a] fantastic person.”
Ronaldo was slammed for his behaviour at United on several occasions this season. A bad situation turned worse during a Premier League match against Tottenham when the five-time Ballon d’Or winner refused to come on as a substitute and instead walked down the tunnel, resulting in his suspension. He then gave an explosive interview in which he revealed he has no respect for United coach Erik ten Hag and hit back at some of his critics.