Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo says he is struggling to keep a lid on his anger with opponents persistently kicking him during matches.
The Portuguese winged wonder faces Inter Milan in the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday night, with the Serie A leaders likely to target the FIFA World Player of the Year again, as they did in the San Siro a fortnight ago. And with Premier League opponents also starting to single out Ronaldo for special treatment, he admits he is beginning to find it difficult controlling his increasingly irate temperament. “I am a target of course so it is difficult to avoid certain things," he said. "I try to control my anger. Sometimes it’s not easy, though, and it is something I have to improve on. “Sometimes it is difficult because of the atmosphere in the stadium and the importance of the game. I’m only 24 but I have a lot of experience of big games and that helps because you learn through situations.”
Ronaldo has been at the centre of several flashpoints so far this season, with the former Sporting Lisbon forward retaliating to robust challenges from Celtic’s Scott Brown, Stoke City’s Andy Wilkinson, Spurs defender Michael Dawson and Blackburn midfielder David Dunn, all of which have not been punished. But the winger says that he considers the rough treatment being dished out in his direction a compliment, with kicking him the only means of stopping him in his tracks. “If someone kicks me, I get up and I go again," he said. "I am not afraid of being kicked, it is part of the game. I see it as a challenge that they have to kick me to stop me.”
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