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Ronaldo: 'I have bad image on pitch'
03:58 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Cristiano Ronaldo tells CNN that his "arrogant" image has cost him

The 27-year-old believes he has become a "victim" of his critics

Portugal star last won the Ballon d'Or in 2008 while at Manchester United

Real Madrid forward says he would like to face his detractors

CNN  — 

Cristiano Ronaldo believes his “arrogant” image has prevented him from capturing the hearts of football fans across the globe.

In an exclusive interview with CNN, the Real Madrid forward reveals how his onfield demeanor has left him sitting in the shadow of the sport’s golden boy and fans’ favorite, Lionel Messi.

“I don’t want to cry about it, but sometimes I think yes,” said Ronaldo after being asked whether his image had cost him in the past.

“It’s a question to which I never give the 100% right answer, because sometimes I really don’t know.

“I don’t think it’s allowed for people to change my personality.

“Maybe sometimes, I agree that I have a bad image on the pitch because I’m too serious.”

Ronaldo and Messi will go head-to-head for the prestigious Ballon d’Or in January, with the Barcelona star having won the award on each of the previous three occasions.

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Both men have taken the sport to a new level with their record goalscoring feats – Ronaldo has scored an astonishing 164 times in 160 appearances for the Spanish champions, while Messi hit 50 in La Liga alone last term.

Ronaldo, who won the Ballon d’Or in 2008 when at Manchester United, led Madrid to the league title last season and has scored in his past six successive El Clasicos.

The 27-year-old Portugal star is unhappy with how he’s often portrayed in the media compared to more “loveable” Messi and says he has become a “victim.”

“But if you really know me, if you are my friend and I leave you inside my house and you share the day with me, you will know I hate to lose,” he said.

“I learn by my mistakes and that’s life. You know, sometimes I’m a victim of that because they don’t know the real Cristiano.

“But, this is part of the life. This is me.”

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While Messi often plays with a smile on his face like a kid in the schoolyard, Ronaldo is often seen moaning, gesticulating and scowling while trying to inspire Real to victory.

But he insists that his competitive nature should not be mistaken for arrogance.

“I was in the swimming pool with my girlfriend and sometimes we like to have a race,” he said.

“Sometimes you have to give her an opportunity to be happy but I win because I don’t like to lose.

“It’s simple like that. Can you imagine me on the pitch playing against players, playing against other teams, it’s not allowed to let them win.

“I’m a competitive man and sometimes people interpret that in a different way, which is a pain on me because I don’t like it, but I have to live.”

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While many sports stars are keen to stay clear of their critics, Ronaldo is keen to embrace his and attempt to transform their opinions in the future.

“People who call me arrogant, I’m interested – not with all of them, but most of them,” he added.

“One day I would like to sit with them and have a chat to see in which way they think I’m arrogant.

“You know, to have a chat, in a nice place and for them to get to know me, you understand?

“Because I think they need to sit with me to know who the real Cristiano is.”