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Cristiano Ronaldo: I need my haters

Cristiano Ronaldo says he does not mind being criticised as it only motivates him to improve even more.

Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo is often being accused of selfishness and arrogance, but he has made it clear that negative comments only help him get the best out of himself.

"I don't mind people hating me, because it pushes me. When I go to play away, they are always against me, but it’s good," Ronaldo told The Times.

"You have to see the good things from the haters. I need the enemy. It is part of the business. They start screaming when I touch the ball. It had started already when I was 18 or 19. It is not a problem for me. It is a motivation.

"I am not the humblest person in the world, I admit that. I am not fake.

"But in one way I am very humble. I like to learn, I want to learn from other sports, the best athletes. What are they doing? You can improve on this, on that. I think it is interesting. A person who is like that, they are humble – because they like to learn."

Ronaldo left his family home in Madeira at the tender age of 12 to pursue his dream of becoming a professional at Sporting CP in Lisbon, but he has admitted that he nearly gave up at some stage.

"It was one of the worst days of my life. I cried every day. I can't imagine letting my son, little Cristiano, go to another city at 12 years old," he added. "I don’t blame my parents for letting me go, because they were trying to give me an opportunity. But it was tough. We had lived all together – my brothers and my parents – but now I was on my own.

"I very nearly didn't make it. One day, I was in school and something happened in my mind. It was as if something snapped. I went to the club to speak to the director. I said, 'Listen, I can't deal with this any more. I am going to give up. I am going home. I don’t want to be here.' 'But you are only 12, Cristiano,' they said. 'You have huge potential. You can become a professional'.

"These people helped me to stay strong. My team-mates helped me, too. And my parents pushed me to stay: 'You are just having a bad moment. Be strong.' I went to bed that night and kept crying. But after a few days, it started to get better. I started to come to terms with it. But I will never forget that difficult time. I was ready to give up."